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

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay wins ‘Most Outstanding School’ award

B.C. School Sports will present school with banner, add GTN to plaque as winners of 2019-2020 year

‘A time of transition:’ CHN looking to release next steps of pandemic response this week

State of local emergency is in effect; Gaagwiis says CHN developing indicators to guide next steps

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Two new bridges to be built along Highway 16 between Port Clements, Tlell

Ministry of Transportation says $5.4-million project expected to be complete in fall 2020

‘Now Is the Time’ doc will start streaming on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Film featuring Haida carver Robert Davidson will launch June 21 for free on NFB website

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Most Read