As people continue to plan in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are preparing for the worst, hoarding meat, toilet paper and non-perishables as they intend to self-quarantine.
But with Kelowna’s less fortunate being unable to take the same extreme measures, coping during this unprecedented time has become an even bigger challenge.
According to Darryl Burry, executive director with Kelowna’s Salvation Army, the pandemic has been problematic for the charity as their services are increasing in demand but their supplies are depleting.
“We are seeing a significant increase in new individuals and families accessing our services over the past week,” said Burry.
“There is definitely a decrease in donations at this time of both physical food products and financial. The reality is just as most people are not going out and not being engaged in the community, the need for those impacted whether they’re being laid off or are the less fortunate, we’re seeing that demand rise but donations drop.”
Burry said that on a daily basis the Salvation Army would typically have enough meat products to almost fill their freezer, but right now they barely have enough to cover the bottom of it.
Bread is also in scarce supply and their toilet paper stock is almost gone.
“Most people are looking for food support, but the challenge is that we do a lot of food reclamation from other grocery stores in the community and typically we get enough stock each day to continue to provide support for guests coming on that day. However, because of all of the hoarding in the community what’s been leftover and coming to us has been extremely diminished.”
In an effort to share its resources equally, the charity is no longer allowing guests to pick out their own groceries but is handing out pre-packs of food. The charity is also giving more people access to its services while shortening its 30-minute appointments to 15 minutes.
Burry said the community has always been able to come together during difficult times to support our neighbors, whether it was the wildfires of 2003 or 2018, the support has always been there and it is time to do the same during this crisis.
“Right now our neighbors are needing support in this crisis,” said Burry.
“If you are able to support by donating to a local food bank I know it’s going to go a long way in meeting some increase needs that we’re seeing during this time.”
As of March 18, the Salvation Army will be travelling around the community in their service truck and giving out meals to those experiencing homeless as the Gospel Mission is having a tough time meeting demands.
To donate to the Salvation Army, visit their website.
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