Brockville Food Bank struggles for donations, volunteers during COVID-19 pandemic
BROCKVILLE -- The shelves at still full at the Brockville Food Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic, as deliveries continue to go out the door.
On Tuesday, they delivered 32 boxes of food within the community, and had about 25 people come into the store.
Amanda Warner, co-chair of the Brockville and Area Food Bank, says that was a slow day, and they’re expecting to see a rise in demand due to the threat of coming layoffs.
“So far, we’ve seen a small increase in demand. We’ve had a few people ask for emergency boxes. We’re expecting to see a big increase next week as unemployment starts to actually happen,” said Warner.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the food bank in other ways, a lack of volunteers
“We have elderly people who volunteer and retired people. People now have decided to leave to care for others or their own health, and the health of their families,” said Warner.
“We’ve been putting feelers out for volunteers to come and drivers to help us deliver to the folks who can’t get here on their own and to just to man the food bank itself.”
The local YMCA has offered staff to help, since the local YMCA is closed to the public.
Julie Addie works at the YMCA and has been helping out at the food bank for three weeks.
“It’s very important to volunteer. We’re expecting a lot more new people coming in with the layoffs so we are going to be very busy,” said Addie.
“If anybody feels free, come help and volunteer. We really appreciate it. We have to stay strong."
On Wednesday, local MPP Steve Clark announced that the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville will receive more than $1.5 million to support the community’s most vulnerable residents during the pandemic.
The funding will go towards municipalities and social service providers, such as shelters, emergency services, charities and food banks.
Warner is excited with the announcement, saying cash donations go way further than food donations and food costs are where the majority of the money is spent.
“We can buy in bulk so we can buy skids and pallets of items. The fresh stuff is really where we want to be able to put a lot of our money to. Making sure people have those most nutritious meals that they can get,” said Warner.
Warner also points out that they are welcoming anybody into the food bank, even if they’ve never used it before. And if you’re interested in volunteering, that would be a big help.
“Anybody who feels comfortable doing that (volunteering), even doing a drive, coming in packaging some stuff, any kind would be great,” said Warner.
“We have a wonderful community in Brockville, Everybody always steps up, so any extra help goes that much further.”
The Brockville and Area Food Bank is open every Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anybody looking to volunteer can call volunteer coordinator Gina at 613-342-0605.
If you live outside the Brockville area and can donate or volunteer, food banks across Ottawa and eastern Ontario could also use the help.