Barrie Food Bank bracing for higher demand as COVID-19 impacts workplaces

"We will do the best that we can with the resources we're given,"

Demand on the Barrie Food Bank is expected to go up.

On Tuesday morning, Premier Doug Ford announced a State of Emergency in the province, ordering all restaurants and bars that can’t deliver, as well as theatres, childcare centres, and all indoor recreation facilities, to close for now. It is anticipated this could lead to some layoffs.

“We’re very concerned about that,” said Barrie Food Bank Executive Director Peter Sundborg, “I mean, we started to see our numbers rise back in July and its been continuing to go up each month. Currently, we’re serving about 3,000 people a month. With the pandemic, it is certainly going to see a number of people that will be partially laid off, or in fact, businesses could go under. I’m anticipating that over the next few months, we will see a pretty substantial increase in the number of people using our services.”

“We’ve been very fortunate in Barrie to have amazing support from the community and we’re hoping that support continues,” continued Sundborg, “however, many of the people who are supporting us may be the ones that are facing some of these challenges.”

“We will do the best that we can with the resources we’re given, to make ensure we’ve got food to share with as many people as possible,” Sundborg added.

For the duration of the pandemic, Sundborg says the way by which food is distributed is being changed; to limit personal contact staff are foregoing one-on-one interviews and just asking for a piece of ID for now. Food is being prepacked by volunteers and handed out from a distance.

Those wishing to make financial donations to the food bank can do so online.