Drive-thru allows Islanders to donate to food banks amid COVID-19

Concerned that some people may be going hungry without school lunch programs amid COVID-19, one Islander has organized a drive-thru food donation drop-off.

'It was just fantastic how the community came together'

Rob and Fred MacKenzie in West River, P.E.I., decided to put together a drive-thru food bank last Sunday. (Afton Hall Community Centre/Facebook)

Concerned that some people may be going hungry without school lunch programs amid COVID-19, one Islander has organized a drive-thru for food donations.

Ensuring physical distancing, Fred MacKenzie said 49 cars came to drop-off items at the drive-thru last Sunday. 

With the help of neighbours, she said the drive-thru at the Afton Hall Community Centre came together quickly.

Volunteers, including her husband and a couple of friends, took donations from the trunks of cars and transported them to a van which took them to the Upper Room Food Bank in Charlottetown.

"I had signs up and it basically said, pull up to the sign, pop your trunk and we'll unload it. That way nobody had to come face-to-face or touch anybody," she said. 

Getting the word out

MacKenzie said she was inspired after talking to a friend who is a school counsellor about the Island's vulnerable students.

"And I just said, 'I have food in my cupboard, and I can donate."

After that, MacKenzie also put the word out to family members and collected donations from people's doorsteps and brought them to her friend's house to distribute. 

"From there, the idea just snowballed ... If I can get a table-worth of food just from five or six houses, I wondered if there was a way to make this bigger, with more people involved."

A second drive-thru donation event is expected to happen on April 19. (Submitted by Fred MacKenzie)

MacKenzie said she posted about the idea of a drive-thru on the West River Facebook page and within a few hours people were offering the use of a van to transport the donations and expressing their interest in donating.

"It was just fantastic how the community came together." 

A second drive-thru donation drop-off event is planned at the Afton Hall on Sunday April 19 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. The donations will go to the food bank in Cornwall. 

"I'm definitely ready to do it again," said MacKenzie.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker


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