Food Bank of Waterloo Region sees 121% increase in demand

Many food banks are seeing a surge in new clients since the pandemic started and keeping their shelves fully stocked is becoming more costly.

At the Food Bank of Waterloo Region weekly deliveries have increased by 121%.

“There is more food going out the door to different locations,” says CEO Wendi Campbell. “There’s more food and more hampers being prepared.”

She says they’ve had to pivot in the way they serve the community.

“The biggest challenge has been just shifting and changing how we deliver service and then ramping up with a very small staff and volunteer team.”

Campbell calls this a challenging time.

“The support from the community has been so outstanding. It has been helping us get through what has been one of the most difficult times the food bank has ever faced.”

While keeping their shelves stocked has sometimes been a challenge, they’re asking residents not to donate food at this time.

They say the best to help is by making a financial donation on their website so they can replenish their stocks and put extra delivery trucks on the road.

Other food banks have also been experiencing challenges during the pandemic.

The Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto says they ususally serve 15,000 families on a weekly basis. Since the start of the pandemic that number has increased 122%.

CEO Neil Hetherington also says their donations are down by more than 30%.

“Annually we would spend about $2 million on food. We’ve had to make significant purchases to keep up with demand. It’s meant that we spent under $2 million in just the past six weeks.”

Sunday night’s “Stronger Together” benefit concert is hoping to help these organizations meet the needs of their communities.

More than $6 million dollars raised throughout the event will be donated to food banks across the country.

If you’d like to donate you can still text COVID to the number 30333 or visit FoodBanksCanada.ca/StrongerTogether.