Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Food Banks BC is already experiencing a surge in demand across its branches throughout the province, according to executive director Laura Lansink.

And the number of people coming to them for assistance is only expected to increase.

“In our 100 food banks in B.C., we’re making daily inquiries, asking our food banks for updates on the circumstances as far as volunteers, food and funding go. They’re reporting back that the numbers are already increasing significantly,” she said.

“The numbers are already growing and they’ll keep growing, not just in this immediate moment but this will have lasting repercussions for the food banks all across our province for another year or two as we come to terms with this.”

In order to prepare, Lansink said Food Banks BC is working very closely with retail partners to fill their shelves.

“We’re dealing a lot with Save On Foods, they’ve been a great partner to us. They’re prioritizing our orders because as you know, shelves are being emptied out of our local stores and that means that food banks may not always get the food they need for the clients in their communities.”

She said as people try to protect their families and take care of their needs, food donations have decreased. She added that people who usually donate money to them are now out of jobs and simply can’t afford to help them out.

But besides struggling to fill their shelves, Lansink said they’re also struggling on the volunteer front.

“About half of our food banks in B.C. are run completely by volunteers… and these volunteers are mostly elderly people, and these are the high-risk folks who have to stay home. So we’re seeing now our operations on a skeleton basis. The food banks really have been emptied out and the staff are having to fill all roles,” she said.

“I don’t know how long they can keep that up because they’re working hard and we’re committed to staying open and being there for every community, but it’s a very challenging time right now.”

She said branches throughout the province have also implemented social distancing to keep volunteers and clients safe. She said some branches have a drive-thru service, others deliver pre-packaged hampers to clients’ cars in the parking lot, as well as home delivery.

Lansink added they’re open to food and monetary donations, as well as volunteers.

“Connect with your local food bank, give them a call and see what they need. Go down and help. If you can’t go out and volunteer, you can donate to Food Banks BC, and that money will go straight to our food banks so they can keep their doors open.”

For online donations and to locate the nearest food bank near you, visit Food Banks BC’s website.

READ MORE: Big White chef brings fresh produce to Central Okanagan Food Bank

READ MORE: Virus panic hits Lake Country Food Bank


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

HISTORICAL MOMENT
The Chemainus Red Cross ladies received many orders during the Second World War years to create dressings, sterilize them and ship them overseas. The Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. offered the use of a building to the Red Cross where dressings were made. This is from the Red Cross’ appeal in 1939. (Photo courtesy Chemainus Valley Museum)
Historical Moment Jan. 21

Red Cross appeal 1939

Carol Hodgins with some of the abundant clothing she carries in Little Angels Children’s Boutique. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Island search concludes with children’s clothing store opening in Chemainus

Little Angels will look unique and fashionable in stylish brands

Alistair MacGregor, right, with federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Debra Toporowski at the Duncan Farmer’s Market in the summer of 2019. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor confirmed as NDP candidate again in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

Party preparing for a possible 2021 federal election

Letters to the Editor.
Lights lift our spirits on dull rainy nights

Brightly-lit properties longer after Christmas appreciated

Danielle Groenendijk raised more than twice her goal for Parkinson’s Canada. (Photo submitted)
VIU volleyball athlete doubles fundraising goal for Parkinson’s

Daily runs over 30 days by Groenendijk add up to 254 kilometres

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Most Read