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Shortages due to COVID-19 panic buying hurt B.C. charity that feeds hungry kids

Last Updated Mar 15, 2020 at 11:02 pm PDT

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Summary

Backpack Buddies delivers food to 68 schools so children who rely on meal programs won't go hungry on weekends

Stock in the charity's warehouse is dwindling and suppliers are warning of shortages

The group wants people to consider what they really need in the event of quarantine before clearing shelves

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A group which helps provide weekend meals to hungry children across Metro Vancouver and Victoria is pleading with people to stop panic-buying groceries amid concern over COVID-19.

Backpack Buddies delivers food to schools so that kids who rely on meal programs don’t go without over the weekend.

The charity says its been told by suppliers food orders this month might not be filled, due to a lack of supplies.

“We got word yesterday from our supply chain that they’re very unsure if they’re going to be able to fill out orders going forward,” says co-founder Emily-anne King.

“If we can’t get the food we can’t feed them and it’s going to be a pretty dire situation.”

The organization delivers 1450 backpacks per week to students at  68 schools across Metro Vancouver and Victoria.

King says, as far as she knows, shortages are not due to a lack of available food or essential goods.

“It’s really just being caused by people taking way more off the shelves than they really need,” she says.

King understands that people are preparing for potential 14-day periods of quarantine or self-isolation but wants people to consider what they really need before clearing the shelves.

“In a time like this it’s really easy to just revert inwards and only think about yourself and not think about the needs of the community as a whole. We can’t forget about people that are less fortunate in times like this,” she says.

Spring break has created a pause in the program, so kids won’t have to go without immediately.

“We do have some supply in our warehouse to get us through. But once that food is gone we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The group had a plan to expand to Port Hardy in April. The plan was to ship 1,000 bags per month to that city, but that plan has been hated due to shortages in the organization’s warehouse. \

With files from Bethlehem Mariam