Volunteers put together hampers at the Central Okanagan Food Bank in December 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)

Volunteers put together hampers at the Central Okanagan Food Bank in December 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)

Central Okanagan Food Bank sees surge in demand as pandemic continues

“Jobs just aren’t as secure as they were,” says Central Okanagan Food Bank representative

The demand for services at the Central Okanagan Food Bank (COFB) is spiking, and is expected to increase even more as the holiday season rolls around.

COFB chief development officer Tammie Watson said lately, they’ve been averaging about 20 new client registrations each day.

“I can tell you right now, I’m looking out my window and there’s a long lineup just off Enterprise of cars waiting to get into our parking lot to receive hampers,” she said.

She said when the pandemic first hit in March, their registration numbers skyrocketed, plateaued in the intervening months, then began to skyrocket again as the second wave of the pandemic hit the region.

READ MORE: 335 new cases in B.C.’s COVID-19 infection surge

“There’s a lot of need right now. We’re anticipating about 2,500 Christmas hampers will be needed this year for Kelowna and West Kelowna residents. We provided just over 1,800 last year, so that’s a significant increase as well.”

Watson added more and more young families are using the COFB’s services, along with seniors and service industry workers who are either working reduced hours or have been let go from their jobs.

“These people were the ones who were hit the hardest when safety policies came into place. Every time there’s a new policy update from the provincial government, we see an increase of people coming through our doors again,” she said.

“Jobs just aren’t as secure as they were.”

With restrictions on gatherings and events, a lot of the food bank’s fundraising campaigns have also had to stop. In order for them to be able to help residents as the holidays approach, they’re asking for the community’s help.

“For us, absolutely 100 per cent financial donation is what will help us get through Christmas, because of our buying power and we know what we need to purchase when we need it.”

“Anyone who’s willing and able to help can go online and donate securely. For every dollar donated, we can purchase $3 worth of food,” she said.

If you wish to donate online, you can do so through the COFB website. COFB is also looking for food donations, which can be dropped off at the West Kelowna and Kelowna donations.

READ: Okanagan Humane Society raffle moves online amid COVID-19

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

(File photo)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate markets not slowing down

Residential sales in the Central, North Okanagan and Shuswap beat last year’s sales by 71 per cent

A crowd of approximately 6,500 packed into Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna to ring in 2018. (Contributed)
Downtown Kelowna New Year’s celebration cancelled

The popular New York New Year’s event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

(Google Maps)
UPDATE: COVID-19 case confirmed at Mar Jok, Rutland Senior Secondary

School District 23 said the individual is now self-isolating

Residents should run their taps until cold before using their water. (Black Press file photo)
Westside water quality advisory back on tap

Leak repair at Westshore Estates affecting some properties, again

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
North Okanagan pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Alix Longland
Trauma resources ready for North Okanagan refugees

Family Resource Centre working with UBCO social work grad to reach out to local refugees

Elkhart Gas Station, located on Highway 97C about 60 kilometres west of Peachland, opened in November 2020. (Google maps)
The Okanagan Connector now has a gas station

The highway previously ran for over 117 kilometres without a place to fuel up

The Hughes’ Grinch was stolen from their front yard Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The Santa suit the Grinch is wearing is 50 years old and has sentimental value. It was once worn by April Hughes’ dad. (Hughes photo)
Grinch stolen from Penticton home is ‘irreplaceable’

The Hughes have had a Christmas display for 25 years on Grandy Avenue in Penticton

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
B.C. Mountie builds fire to warm suspect with hypothermia prior to rescue

Cpl. Phil Peters said the civilian helped police track, apprehend and eventually rescue the suspect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Revelstoke COVID-19 cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

There have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in the community

Most Read