Volunteer Gerry St. Laurent helps fill hampers at the Sooke Food Bank. The food bank expects a continued demand in June, as usage has nearly doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke Food Bank takes steps towards ‘new norm’

Need for Sooke Food Bank nearly doubles since beginning of pandemic

  • Jun. 1, 2020 1:00 p.m.

Demand shows no sign of slowing as the Sooke Food Bank prepares to shift towards a “new normal.”

Kim Metzger, president of the Sooke Food Bank, said the group handed out approximately 500 food hampers in May, and expects the need to continue in June.

In March, April, and May the food bank was mainly doing deliveries to ensure the safety of clients, but as restrictions loosen throughout the province, it will begin to move away from delivering and have people pick up hampers again in person.

“We are trying to make bigger hampers so people don’t have to come in as often and can stay at home longer,” Metzger said.

On Thursday (June 4) the food bank will be open and handing out hampers in the parking lot of the community hall from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Metzger encourages people to come later in the day, rather than all coming when it first opens, so that people are able to physically distance.

“We would really appreciate if people could wear a mask if they have one, and we will have hand sanitizer out for people to use,” Metzger said.

ALSO READ: Bakery bakes, donates bread just for the Sooke Food Bank

Metzger said the demand has nearly doubled since the beginning of the pandemic, and the biggest challenge for the food bank has been having enough space in the Sooke Community Hall to match the need.

However, volunteers have been handling the demand well, and the community has shown unwavering support, she said.

“We have been applying for grants everywhere, and we are grateful for the support from Food Banks B.C., Food Banks Canada, the Rapid Relief Fund, and for Mayor Maja Tait for keeping everyone informed,” Metzger said.

For the time being, cash or electronic donations are preferred.

“Our community is amazing. It has shown so much support, and the words of encouragement have been wonderful. We are so blessed to live in Sooke,” Metzger said.

The food bank is open the first, second, and third Thursday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. More details can be found on the food bank’s website at www.foodbanksooke.org or by telephone 250-642-7666.

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