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Practical kindness needed by Richmond Food Bank

By Lorraine Graves

Published 5:58 PDT, Wed March 18, 2020

The Richmond Food Bank needs our help more than ever. 

Currently, over 1,700 Richmond residents use the weekly food bank to feed their families.  

“We are anticipating an increased need, as more people have either had their work hours cut back or have lost their jobs entirely,” says executive director Hajira Hussain. 

Most needed items include rice, pasta, pasta sauce, canned milk, canned fruits or vegetables, and canned beans. Food donations of nutritious, unopened, non-perishable items can be dropped off at the main location (100-5800 Cedarbridge Way) or in the food bank bin at your local grocery store.

The food bank also welcomes cash donations. 

“Monetary donations are extremely helpful as they allow us to purchase specific items that the Richmond community needs most,” Hussain says.

Every dollar donated is multiplied many times because stores offer large lot discounts or special deals on items they cannot sell at deep discounts, such as items missing their French translation.

In addition to needing to feed more people, the food bank needs more volunteers. 

Hussain says many of their elderly volunteers are at an increased risk for death from COVID-19. For that reason, seniors are no longer coming out to pack the food hampers. 

Effective March 23, the food bank will be providing pre-packaged hampers rather than their usual choice-based model. The hamper system will allow for safer distribution with minimal human contact during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Hussain says all volunteers are provided with disposable gloves. The food bank also has daily janitorial staff and protocols for workers to keep spaces clean. 

“To encourage safe distancing, we will be extending our pick-up hours," says Hussain. Pick-up hours are anytime between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Thursday evening distribution is cancelled until further notice.

Grocery distributions at all of the food bank’s offsite depots (Steveston United Depot, Peace Mennonite Depot, Baptist Church Depot) have been temporarily halted as well. 

“We receive no government funding and are primarily funded through the generous donation of individuals, community organizations and businesses,” says Hussain.

Now is a time to help your neighbours if you are able to.

For more information or to give to the food bank go to richmondfoodbank.org

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