The Goldstream Food Bank expects an influx of families needing hampers when it opens April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)

COVID-19: Goldstream Food Bank braces for influx of patrons after layoffs

Food bank still unsure if volunteers can safely distribute hampers

The Goldstream Food Bank is preparing for a surge in patrons next month in the wake of COVID-19 layoffs across the region.

The non-profit is set to open April 7 but president Gayle Ireland says safety and sanitization protocols need to be developed in order to curb the risk of transmission and keep both volunteers and clients safe.

“We’re not sure if it’s a safe situation … many of our volunteers are elderly,” Ireland said. “Volunteers would be working, hopefully, under a City of Langford supplied tent and we would implement social distancing between work stations [and have] pre-packed hampers.”

READ ALSO: Health care workers bring COVID-19 assistance to Langford residents

Beyond navigating the logistics of supplying hundreds of hampers amid government orders for social distancing, the food bank also expects an influx of patrons.

“There could be lot of new people, new registrants … people who have been laid off,” Ireland said. “Every time you turn around another restaurant is closed [or] a theatre is closed.”

Ireland said the advice she often received – to have six months of living expenses saved for emergencies – is “just about impossible these days.”

Coun. Matt Sahlstrom said Langford is trying to help before “the food bank gets slammed.”

“There’s so many people out of work [and] they’ll be waiting a while for their [employment insurance] to kick in,” he said. “A lot of people who work in pubs and restaurant rely solely on their tips and they aren’t getting those tips right now.

“There’s so many people who live paycheque to paycheque,” he added.

For those who can help, donations are accepted online at the City of Langford’s GoFundMe page for the Langford Response Team.

“This is a time the people of Langford really have to pull together,” Sahlstrom said. “Just like we always do.”

Cash donations are accepted directly by the Goldstream Food Bank at goldstreamfoodbank.islandwebhosting.com. For information on volunteering or donating food items call 240-474-4443.

READ ALSO: Langford mom of five sick children struggles to get COVID-19 tests



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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