Coronavirus pandemic is straining Vancouver food banks

Mar 18 2020, 12:05 pm

The coronavirus pandemic has created a time of much uncertainty for many people, with those less fortunate being hit the hardest.

The pandemic has placed additional challenges for groups such as food banks and the communities they support.

As a result, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is asking for support and resources, in what they are calling “a time of great need.”

The food bank is asking for financial donations, shopping bags, and volunteers to come support their efforts to supply an essential service to those who still need it during this time.

“While people across the lower mainland have spent the past days filling their pantries, it is important to keep in mind our neighbours who face food insecurity,” said Cynthia Boulter, chief operating officer of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

“Food insecure people cannot afford to stockpile food, and we are here to ensure they have access to a continuous supply of it. We are unsure if our food industry donors will be able to continue providing us with critical donations we rely on, and we have to mitigate that risk.”

There have been many calls by government officials and fellow citizens alike, to stop hoarding supplies and groceries, and one way you can help is by giving back to those who need it if you are in the position to do so.

The organization is asking for bags because they are trying to reduce the amount of time clients spend in community food hubs, by creating pre-packed grocery bags for individuals, couples, and families, meaning they require tens of thousands of bags to meet demand.

“We are asking retail businesses to donate their shopping bags of all sizes,” says a release from the food bank.

In order to ensure the grocery bags are able to get to the food bank’s clients each week, they also need volunteers, and are asking anyone who is looking to help to offer their time.

To protect health and safety of those who use the service, the food bank is limiting group sizes to no more than 25 people at a time.

The food bank says they rely on the public’s donations to keep supporting clients across the Greater Vancouver Area.

“We are not currently receiving any additional support from provincial or national industry bodies, and we receive no government funding,” said David Long, chief executive officer of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

“As such, we rely solely on donations from the public, businesses and granting foundations so that we can support our clients in need in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and on the North Shore.”

For other ways you can lend a hand to others during this trying time, check out this list of ways you can help during the coronavirus pandemic.