With a growing amount of people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, food banks across B.C. and Canada are seeing a big spike in people needing help.
“There’s been a ton of new clients registering with us,” said Tammie Watson, chief development officer for the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank in Kelowna. “The amount of families coming through is skyrocketing.”
Watson said on Wednesday alone, the families that were registered to pick up hampers included 114 children.
Since the pandemic began, Watson said the food bank has seen a 26 per cent spike in clients.
“Prior to COVID, we averaged anywhere from 80 to possibly 100 appointments, per day, Monday to Friday,” she said. “Right now, we are averaging anywhere between 120 and 140 a day.”
On Thursday, some of those families received a boost as the Easter Bunny helped hand out hampers.
“It just lightens the mood,” Watson said.
Watson said the community, including a number of businesses, are stepping forward to help those in need.
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One business, she said, offered to have an Easter Bunny on site heading into the long weekend.
Watson added that other businesses donated all kinds of Easter treats for children.
“It just really makes for a nice moment, you know,” said an emotional Watson.
“Everyone is really stressed out right now, no one really knows what’s going on in the future, how long we will be living this way.”
As for donations, Watson said the food bank is receiving plenty of perishable items due to restaurant closures, but it’s non-perishable items that are needed.
“What we are seeing a reduction in is the non-perishable donations,” she said, “so pantry-style items that everyone has in their homes to get us by.”
For those who are new clients, the food bank has now set up an online registration form.
Click here to access it.
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