The Feed the People food bank operated out of the Islands Wellness Society in Queen Charlotte has put a call out for spare takeout containers, Tupperware, mason jars and canning supplies.
Society victim services and outreach coordinator Bonnie Olson, who also serves as one of the volunteer directors for the food bank, told the Observer the containers are needed for a new freezer meal service they are providing in response to the novel coronavirus.
Olson said the food bank is still operating its normal monthly distribution — the next distribution date is April 10 — and the freezer meal service is meant to augment that.
She obtained permission from the Village of Queen Charlotte to take over the youth centre, where she said she’s been putting her previous experience running a café for 10 years to work, making single-portion meals such as chili, soup and lasagna for vulnerable people and those in self-isolation.
“We can give the meals to people who are shut in, whether it’s because they’re quarantined or have mobility issues, or really impacted due to poverty,” she said, adding that the village will be assisting with deliveries.
“We just started Friday and [Monday] to try and have food available that’s frozen … and reach those people who are the most impacted.”
A home-cooked meal can do more than help meet people’s basic needs, she added.
“It makes people feel cared for.”
Asked if the food bank is experiencing an increase in demand due to the virus, Olson replied: “It is.”
“We already serve a pretty big community,” she continued, adding that they assist residents in Queen Charlotte, Skidegate, Sandspit and outlying areas. “I only anticipate that it’s going to grow exponentially.”
At the same time, she said local organizations and residents have been “very generous” over the last week, donating over $10,000 to the non-profit.
“People are really trying to help even when they’re struggling,” she said.
She said she also plans to apply for some emergency funding through United Way.
Residents interested in receiving freezer meals from the food bank should contact Olson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-637-1500, while residents interested in the monthly food bank subsidy should call 250-559-4100 and follow the prompts.
Donations of non-perishable food items, in addition to containers, may be dropped off at the Islands Wellness Society, located at 204 Oceanview Dr., during office hours. Residents can also call 250-559-8843 if they have donations to be picked up or send a monetary donation by e transfer to email@example.com.
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