The Kamloops Food Bank is prepping for the Rotary Fall Food Drive on Saturday, Sept. 19.
After taking in a record haul of more than 70,000 pounds of food during this year’s spring food drive, the organization is hopeful it will experience a similar response in the fall drive as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an effect on food security.
Food bank executive director Bernadette Siracky believes the uncertainty that followed the declaration of the pandemic in March may have changed some people’s views on the food bank, realizing they might need to rely on its services one day.
“Many people got a different perspective on the service we offer,” Siracky said.
Volunteers who will be out collecting donations for the fall food drive will need to maintain strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols that were developed for the spring food drive this past April. On the other side, people are asked to leave their donation bags as near to the road as possible.
Though Siracky said there aren’t any particular food products more demand than others, there are some items the food bank can’t take. Containers that have already been opened will be thrown in the trash and home canning cannot be distributed through the facility.
The focus is on non-perishable goods — if it’s in your home and in your pantry, it should be fine.
If there are perishable items to be donated, people are asked not to place them in the food drive bags, but to instead drop them off directly at the food bank, at 181 Wilson St. in North Kamloops.
Donation bags will be included in the Wednesday, Sept. 16, edition of Kamloops This Week and will also be available from all McDonald’s drive-thru locations in Kamloops during the week leading up to the food drive.
The food bank is expecting to see an increase in the number of people needing its services in the coming months as the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) comes to an end. Siracky pointed out that the number of people accessing the food bank has already started climbing during the first few days of September.
“There’s an uncertainty with people’s jobs, with income, with supports from the government,” she said.
Along with the potential for an increase in clients in the coming months, Siracky said the organization is also considering how to keep clients warm during the winter months, with the pandemic requiring greater physical distancing than what was in place before.
“We are concerned about what that will look like and are making plans for the winter,” she said.
Though the food drive is a vital part of the food bank’s fundraising efforts, there are other ways people can donate to the cause. Beginning on Sept. 14, cash donations of $10 or $25 can be made by texting “foodbank” to 45678. Donations can also be made via Canada Helps by visiting the Kamloops Food Bank’s website at kamloopsfoodbank.org.