Food banks come in handy amid COVID-19 pandemic

Apr 6, 2020 | COVID-19, News

Abigael Ruto
Food banks across Canada are helping vulnerable communities survive the COVID-19 pandemic. (Akash Sharma)

The prime minister pledged $100 million to food banks and support agencies across Canada on April 3 to aid of vulnerable communities hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food banks in Canada will get $50 million while another $30 million will go to local organizations that serve communities facing food insecurity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

The Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres and Breakfast Club of Canada will share $20 million evenly, Trudeau said.

“Today, we are giving food agencies the support they need to keep helping Canadians through this difficult time,” Trudeau stated in a press release.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, shown here at an April 9 news conference at Rideau Cottage, announced $100 million in funding for food banks and related agencies. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

Agencies will receive the money through the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund, Trudeau said in a press release.

The fund that was launched in 2019 is apart of Canada’s policy roadmap towards a healthier and sustainable food system in Canada, Trudeau said.

The funding will help organizations buy food and necessities for communities, allow them to hire temporary staff, rent equipment and other materials, the press release said.

“Many Canadians rely on food banks and local food organizations to feed their families and find support in hard times,” Trudeau said.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, urged fellow MPs to reach out to food security agencies within their regions to ensure they’re not lacking anything.

“I encourage all my fellow Members of Parliament to contact the food security organizations in their region to ensure that the entire country is covered,” Bibeau said in a press release.

In 2019, 1.1 million people relied on food banks and 5.6 million meals were served to Canadians each month. They are figures the government projects will increase significantly, Trudeau said.

COVID-19 as of April 12 has claimed the lives of 713 Canadians with the number of confirmed cases standing at 24,292.

There is a ray of hope as 7,074 have recovered as of April 12.

WHO statistics show there have been 112,241 deaths and 415,218 recoveries.

The prime minister acknowledged it is a difficult time for everyone and that it was the best time to act.

“Now, with more Canadians turning to these supports, and donations and available volunteers decreasing, they need our help more than ever,” Trudeau said.