British Columbia

Greater Vancouver Food Bank asks for financial donations and volunteers

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has issued an urgent call for financial donations, shopping bags and volunteers in order to keep providing services amid the response to COVID-19.

Food bank worried that food industry donations will come to a stop

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is calling on the public for support over concerns donors from the food industry may be unable to continue providing critical donations. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has issued an urgent call for financial donations, shopping bags and volunteers in order to keep providing services amid the response to COVID-19.

The organization says it may need to purchase more food than usual to help people who are struggling.

"Food insecure people cannot afford to stockpile food, and we are here to ensure they have access to a continuous supply of it," said the food bank's chief operating officer, Cynthia Boulter, in a news release Tuesday.

She says the organization has to be prepared in case its usual donors from the food industry are unable to continue providing critical donations.

The food bank is asking for financial donations, not donated food, so that it can use its buying power to purchase more food in bulk.

The food bank's CEO says it relies entirely on donations from the public, businesses and granting foundations to serve clients in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and on the North Shore

"We are not currently receiving any additional support from provincial or national industry bodies, and we receive no government funding," said David Long in the news release.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank in Burnaby on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

As an additional health measure, it has also shifted to offering clients pre-packaged grocery bags instead of letting them shop themselves and is asking retail businesses to donate tens of thousands of shopping bags in all sizes.

The food bank says more volunteers are urgently needed to help prepare grocery bags and is asking healthy employees of companies that have now shut down to volunteer their time.

No more than 25 volunteers will work together at a time and they will be provided gloves and procedures for increased hand washing and sanitizing. Anyone who appears ill will not be allowed to volunteer.

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