Tyson Elder, operations manager for the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, says the donation situation is dire. (Black Press Media File)

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Food banks across British Columbia will receive emergency funding worth $3 million from the provincial government to help fight the effects of COVID-19.

Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing, said the funding announced Sunday comes from the provincial community grant program.

“British Columbia’s not-for-profit food banks provide a critical service for vulnerable people in our communities, especially during this most challenging time,” said Robinson.”During times like these, we need to help each other as much as possible. This community gaming grant will help relieve hunger and provide support for the people in our province who need it most.”

Laura Lansink, executive director, Food Banks BC, welcomed the funding.

“This grant will make a tremendous impact in communities all over B.C. and ensure that food banks can keep their doors open and continue to meet the needs of the vulnerable, who particularly need their assistance at this time,” she said.

Food banks have experienced a massive drop in donations during the pandemic, yet food bank organizers have also predicted rising demand for their services as the economic effects of COVID-19 unfold. With donations of actual food items declining, local food bank organizers have been asking the public for money donations.

RELATED: Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

RELATED: COVID-19: Goldstream Food Bank braces for influx of patrons after layoffs

RELATED: Greater Victoria food banks ask public for financial donations during COVID-19 pandemic

The provincial government said in a release that Food Banks BC will distribute the money among food banks province wide because of its expertise in the management of food distribution. The money promises food banks to help buy and distribute food, pay employees and cover other costs essential to the delivery of their food programs.

It is not clear yet how much money local food banks in Greater Victoria including the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank will receive.

“Food Banks BC will assess the needs and requirements of food banks to determine the amount and timing of the distribution,” read a government release. “Funds will be distributed quickly and equitably to food banks across all regions of the province.”

The announced grant uses funding that has remained in the provincial community gaming grant budget of $140 million after the program had awarded or approved all 2019 grants for eligible organizations.

The funds announced Sunday will also help food banks align with a March 26 order via the emergency program act to help the most vulnerable. The money will allow fordrive-through and delivery, larger hampers, increased home delivery capability and removes the requirement to present identification.


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