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Surrey Food Bank in need of donations before demand spikes over holidays

Last Updated Oct 21, 2020 at 4:51 pm PST

A file image of food bank donations. (CityNews photo)
Summary

The Surrey Food Bank is expecting a busy holiday season but isn't seeing as many donations this year

The food bank expects more people will likely rely on its service over the holidays

Events that used to support the food bank during this time have either gone virtual or been cancelled

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — With donations down during the pandemic and one of the busiest times of the year approaching, one food bank is trying to find new ways to support those in need.

The Surrey Food Bank expects more people to be looking for hot meals during the cold winter months, said Feezah Jaffer, the executive director

“So the donations need to be up to par with that and we’re seeing a few, but not as much as we would like to really get the help out to those who need it,” she explains.

“Because of COVID, people who are on furlough, have lost their jobs, now that CERB has ended, people are now going to be struggling to see how they can make ends meet. So in the next couple of months, we’ll probably see a surge in our numbers as well.”

Jaffer says the food bank used to count on large events to help the food bank out as they prepare for the holiday rush, but that’s not the case this year since many are either going virtual or are cancelled altogether.

“The school district used to do a Halloween Scare Away Hunger big food drive for us, so that’s probably not going to be happening,” she says. “We’re having a big food drive here with a local school here in Delta and every year they raise over 20,000 items of food, so that is going to look a little different.”

RELATED: Fewer people visiting Greater Vancouver Food Bank since start of pandemic

She says she expects this holiday season to be busier than previous years, and the food bank will have to look at other options to keep everyone safe while still getting support to those who need it.

She says the food bank is looking at other options this year to keep everyone safe. They will try out their own virtual events and drive-thrus along with some new holiday campaigns.

“We have to find a new way to think about and engage with the community,” Jaffer adds.

Another challenge is having enough volunteers around since the number hasn’t always been consistent. While there is a set group of volunteers, she says more are always welcome.

The Surrey Food Bank could also use donations of canned vegetables, fruits, and soups, as well as baby formula and diapers.