Holiday Help: Island food banks see increased demand due to COVID

Holiday Help: Island food banks see increased demand due to COVID
WatchDemand at Island food banks is up but donations are down due to cancelled food drives and fundraisers. Tess van Straaten reports.

Food banks are struggling to keep up with growing demand but a much-needed donation arrived at the Goldstream Food Bank Monday morning.

“I know it’s been a tough year for a lot of people,” says real estate agent Darren Day, who helped collect donations. “I know there’s just a lot of people hurting out there so we thought, ‘hey, let’s put this together’.”

The Day team filled a truck full of food and collected more than $4,000 in cash donations — which couldn’t have come at a better time with demand for Christmas hampers up this year due to COVID.

“We want to make sure that people in hardship get help so they can enjoy their Christmas and not have to worry about food on the table,” says Walter Dubeau, who’s been volunteering at the Goldstream Food Bank for the last 12 years.

The Goldstream Food Bank’s already made up 475 hampers, which started going out today.

That’s two to three weeks ahead of when they normally start due to COVID.

And with so many food drives and fundraising events cancelled, COVID’s having a big impact on charities.

“The donations are down,” Dubeau says. “We just finished packing all the hampers for the week and we had to stop packing and wait for more food donations.”

Making matters worse, there’s also still some confusion over what’s allowed and what’s not this holiday season.

But B.C.’s health minister had this to say today:

“It is time I think when there is any doubt, to rule events out,” Dix says. “Stop as much as possible to limit the transmission of COVID-19.”

At the food bank, they’ve been running on a skeleton core of volunteers since March to lower the risk and with so many COVID challenges, they’re just hoping the community will come through.

“People are generous and we’re going to keep being generous and help people out and that’s what the community is all about,” says Dubeau.

MORE: COVID-19 cancels more Christmas events as charities struggle to raise funds

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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