Coronavirus: Durham food banks in need of donations amid COVID-19 pandemic

As concerns surrounding the COVIC-19 pandemic continue to grow, food security is one at the top of the list.

In Durham, food banks are seeing an increase in people using the service and the need for donations is becoming dire.

A group in Whitby ran a food challenge to help out.

The Salvation Army in Whitby has been stretched thin since Christmas.

Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, they are even more hard-pressed for resources.

“These are unchartered waters and people are coming to us in droves,” said Major Ken Percy, Salvation Army Whitby pastor and officer.

Besides helping to supply other food banks, Percy says they’re also helping around 50 households a day and the need for donations is great.

They fear that number could double in the coming days.

“We pack food that 2020, 2021 expiry dates. Right now we’re giving out food that’s expiry date is 2023. We are in unprecedented waters, we’re hoping that right now, that we will not run out of food but it’s getting pretty close,” said Percy.

The Whitby Care Mongers held a food drive challenge on Monday, looking to gather as much as possible in four hours.

“We were getting a significant number of calls because of food insecurity. We decided we better get out there and get what we could while we could,” said Niki Lundquist, Durham Region Care Mongers.

The friendly competition saw vehicle after vehicle drop off donations.

An inspiring sight for Lundquist.

“I think it speaks to the tightness of communities; sometimes we feel disconnected from one another and suddenly people are reconnecting in different ways; and so if there is one good thing that is coming out of this, it’s that,” said Lundquist.

The Care Mongers delivered over 15 truckloads of food to the Salvation Army.

“We’re so grateful that everybody in Whitby is pulling together, that’s what a community should do in any type of crisis,” said Percy.

Meantime, every day remains unpredictable, Major Percy says they will eventually get through this.

“We’re geared up, we’re retooling our efforts here in Whitby to meet the needs,” said Percy.

To keep their shelves stocked with an expected surge in demand, Feed The Need In Durham will be holding a food drive this week in Ajax, Oshawa and in Bowmanville.

Donations will be received at these locations between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., from Tuesday, March 24, to Friday, March 27.

The three “Drive-Thru” locations are:

  • The Audley Road Recreation Centre (1955 Audley Rd, Ajax)
  • The Delpark Homes Centre (1661 Harmony Rd N, Oshawa)
  • The Garnett B. Reichard Recreation Complex (2440 Durham Regional Hwy 2, Bowmanville

They’re also looking to raise $5,000 this month to buy more food.

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