British Columbia

CBC B.C.'s Food Bank Day receives record-breaking $2,973,015 in donations

CBC Vancouver's 35th annual Food Bank Day raised more than $2.9 million this year, a record total.

Food banks in Canada have seen a major surge in visits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

Volunteers fill bags with food at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in Burnaby on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

For more than three decades, CBC Vancouver's annual Open House and Food Bank Day has raised money for those in need, and the tradition continued on Dec. 3.

This year, like last year, the fundraising festivities were adapted so you could watch special broadcasts, meet your favourite CBC British Columbia hosts virtually, and donate to Food Banks B.C., all from the comfort of your home.

Donors were able to contribute until midnight Dec. 31.

We have raised $2,973,015 this year — a record total amount raised. A final donation total will be posted at noon PT on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

"It's frankly staggering that we are breaking last year's quite extraordinary record... we are deeply grateful for the generosity," said Dan Huang-Taylor, executive director of Food Banks B.C.

He said the donations will go toward purchasing ingredients, providing variety to those with dietary restrictions and cultural needs, and purchasing products to ensure food banks can operate safely with COVID-19 restrictions in place. 

"The importance of these funds can't be underestimated," said Huang-Taylor. 

Friday, Dec. 3, marked CBC Vancouver's 35th annual Food Bank Day. Like last year, most activities took place virtually, like this meet and greet with CBC's Stephen Quinn and Angela Sterritt. (Zahra Premji/CBC)

In 2020, the event raised $2,721,112, shattering previous years' totals. 

new report says food banks in Canada have seen a major surge in visits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the high cost of living and ongoing economic disruption is bound to swell those numbers in the months ahead.

Huang-Taylor said there has been an increased need for food banks in 2021 not only due to the ongoing pandemic, but also due to thousands of people displaced from wildfires and flooding. 

David Long, the CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, said the organization has registered over 5,000 new clients over the past year.

"That's a staggering number and there's a certainly a lot of need out there," said Long.

With disruptions to the supply chain made worse by flooding and road closures, food banks in B.C. anticipate prolonged demand over the coming weeks and months.

"If you told me a year ago that we would flying — by helicopter — food to Hope and Merritt and different parts of the Lower Mainland that had been cut off by the floods, I wouldn't have believed it," said Long. 

Long said they were able to distribute around 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of food — something he says they wouldn't have been able to do without public support.

"The fallout of the pandemic and these floods is something that's going to go on for a number of years. We're going to see a ripple effect of what's happened over the coming years."

CBC Foodbank Day kicks off bright and early with On The Island host Gregor Craigie, left, and associate producer Rohit Joseph in Victoria, B.C. on Dec. 3. 'Tis the season to give. (Ken Mizokoshi/CBC)

If you were unable to make a monetary donation, there are many other ways to help. You can visit the Food Banks B.C. website to find your local food bank and learn about volunteer opportunities available in your community.

With files from On The Coast