Demand for food bank, Salvation Army remains high in Nanaimo as Give and Go event approaches

WatchGive and Go event in Nanaimo will go-ahead Friday as demand for services remains high. Kendall Hanson has more.

An annual event that helps the less fortunate in Nanaimo has gotten the green light despite the pandemic.

Give and Go will go-ahead Friday. The event helps the Loaves and Fishes food bank and the Salvation Army, where demand is higher this year.

At the Salvation Army’s downtown Nanaimo location they’ve seen a jump in people accessing lunch.

“At least everyone gets a chance to eat, have a coffee, keep warm,” said Johnny Joseph who says he’s grateful for the program.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, lunch and coffee are now served outside and because of the impact from COVID-19, demand is way up.

“This year we probably saw the demand up 30 percent higher than last year and I would probably give it all to COVID-19 because it’s affecting many people in many different ways,” said Dawne Anderson of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army has served nearly 120,000 meals this year, the shelter is full, and they’re constantly trying to find housing for their clients.

Its Nanaimo Kettle Campaign has also seen its volunteers drop, by 25 percent, because of concerns about COVID-19.

To top it off, it appeared COVID-19 was going to cancel this year’s Give and Go, which supports the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank as well as the Salvation Army.

“We sort of had to pull the plug a little bit. It was awesome for Dr. Henry to say yes ‘you can have this event’ because we know that people are hoping that it was happening and they’re ready to bring things to us,” said Anderson.

At the Steve Marshall Ford dealership, they’re thrilled to be hosting Give-and-Go again.

“It brings out the Christmas spirit and it really shows how giving our community is so we love being the host because we get to see it first hand so it’s really fun,” said Ann Marie Clark on behalf of the dealership.

Give and Go will be happening this Friday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Organizes are hoping to top the totals from last year that saw more than 3,000 kilograms of donations.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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