A government-issued self-isolation and social distancing protocol has been put into place in many cities worldwide amidst an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Many have been obeying social distancing protocols diligently; however, the lack of people going about their typical daily routines has led to shortages of important services, notably food banks.
Although toilet paper might not be readily accessible, its shortage would not be catastrophic. A food shortage would be though, especially for people who rely on food banks for their meals.
Chris Hatch of Food Banks Canada says, “Over one million people per month use food banks across Canada, with children and seniors being a significant number of those.”
He fears that food supply will not be replenished rapidly enough due to increased demand, as many families struggle with layoffs and with applying for unemployment insurance or welfare.
According to Hatch, there are “over 5,000 food banks across Canada, and what we’re seeing is a dramatic drop in volunteers right now”.
The majority of these volunteers are seniors, but, as they are an at-risk group for when it comes to the possibility of contracting the virus, they have been advised to stay inside.
Also, many food banks have been struggling to maintain their supply during the quarantine. Food banks are saying that they can’t get basic non-perishables like tuna or peanut butter. This is happening because many citizens are hoarding these foods and are over-purchasing, thus leaving food banks with nothing to buy.
Many of those who run food banks are concerned with the lack of food supply, as well as with the potential of a drastic increase in people who are in need due to a sudden loss of income.
Foodbank workers, as well as volunteers, are essential workers during this pandemic, as so many of them are at the frontlines delivering food and sorting supplies.
Moving forward, if you are healthy and able to, consider volunteering for a food bank in your area during this crucial time, since they need all of the hands they can get. Also, donate to food banks if you can.
Most importantly, stop being selfish and stop buying more than you need because we are faced with a pandemic. It must be must remembered that we are living in a community, and we must consider the impacts that our actions have on others, especially those who are less fortunate.
Find food banks in your area here: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/utility-pages/find-a-food-bank.aspx
You may also contact Kristen Whitelaw from Vanier Student Life for other volunteer opportunities during the COVID-19 quarantine.