CEO, Food Banks Canada
There’s increasing pressure on food banks to keep up with demand. Here’s how you can help.
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the world, Canadians from coast to coast are being impacted. Food Banks Canada, a national charity, is seeing that impact firsthand.
“We’re seeing on average a 20% increase in food bank use across Canada,” says Chris Hatch, CEO of Food Banks Canada. Food banks are facing a triple threat: increased demand, fewer donations (since many spring food drives were cancelled, Canadians are grocery shopping less, and disruptions in the food supply chain are preventing grocery stores from making their usual large donations), and challenges with volunteers and staff. “It’s a perfect storm,” says Hatch.
Communities pulling together
The good news is that Canadians are rising to the challenge. “We’re seeing tremendous support from all levels,” says Hatch. This includes support from governments, corporate partners, various foundations, and celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
“The biggest one for me is that we’ve had over 140,000 individuals donate over $6 million on our website, and those numbers continue to grow by the day,” says Hatch. “This unprecedented support has been heart-warming.”
The organization still needs more support. “Volunteers are the life blood of food banks, and there’s been a major drop off in volunteers during COVID-19,” says Hatch. “A lot of volunteers are seniors, so rightfully they’re self-isolating and staying at home. Others have to stay home with children or think that the risks are too high.”
Food banks’ volunteer and staff challenges have disrupted their operations. Many have put out an urgent call to local communities for volunteers.
This unprecedented support has been heart-warming.Chris Hatch, CEO of Food Banks Canada
Making a difference
If you can’t volunteer, you can still help. “We’re appealing to all Canadians to donate financially to help ensure that our neighbours living with food insecurity have enough food to make it through this pandemic,” says Hatch. “We need everyone’s help to get through this together. And no gift is too small or too large.”