While thousands of dollars have been donated, residents are reminded that need remains
More than $70,000 has been raised for food banks from Squamish to Lillooet, through the Feed the Need Initiative.
Launched in April of this year, Feed the Need aimed to raise awareness of the increased need for local food banks, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, raising much-needed funds for food banks throughout the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).
Even as federal and provincial funds were pledged to assist food banks, it became clear, very early on, that 2020 would be a challenging year for many social service programs, with food banks being no exception.
“Food banks have, unfortunately, become an ongoing need in our communities,” said SLRD Board Chair Jen Ford. “And with COVID-19, and the economic uncertainty that has come with it, our food banks are facing even greater demand,” she said. “The Feed the Need campaign has helped to bring awareness to the need, and donations to the food banks. The regional district is pleased to have been able to partner on this important initiative, and we are so grateful to all of the people who donated to their local food banks – whether through the Feed the Need Campaign, or directly to their community food bank. Now, more than ever, we really need to look out for each other.”
Sea to Sky Community Services Society (SSCS), which operates the Pemberton Food Bank, hosted the Feed the Need portal on their website, while the SLRD created social media awareness of the fundraising campaign. The program was boosted, with each SLRD Electoral Area contributing $100 from Select Funds towards a Facebook advertising campaign and each member municipality sharing information about the campaign through their own social media channels.
While it’s impossible to determine the exact dollar amount raised through the campaign, (donations can be made through the Feed the Need portal but only donations made to the Pemberton Food Bank and the regional food bank fund can be tracked through the website), $63,735 was donated to the Pemberton Food Bank through the Feed the Need portal, and $7,307 was donated to the regional food bank fund.
For Sea to Sky Community Services Society, the campaign has been a resounding success, but they remind residents that, as we head into the holidays, the need is greater than ever.
“In an unprecedented year where we have seen increased food security issues in the Sea to Sky corridor, we are so appreciative of all the donations we've received so far. Going into the holiday season, there is still an immense need. The Pemberton Food Bank alone has been filling 1500 hampers a month. Any size donation to Feed the Need will make such a difference to someone in your community that is struggling right now.” said SSCS Executive Director, Jaye Russell.
“I have heard about so many individual acts of kindness and generosity throughout the pandemic and it is making a difference,” said Karen Elliott, Mayor, District of Squamish. “The need remains, and many of our residents continue to struggle so I urge everyone who is able, to give what they can to help others less fortunate. Food banks are one way that we can ensure that no-one goes hungry into the New Year, and the success of the Feed the Need campaign to date demonstrates the power of us all working together.”
“The pandemic has placed a significant strain on food banks in the Sea to Sky, including Whistler, and their resources,” added Jack Crompton, Mayor, Resort Municipality of Whistler. “I’m heartened by the collective efforts and contributions to the Feed the Need campaign. There continues to be an urgent need within our communities. I encourage anyone who is able, to donate time or funds to this important initiative to ensure that these critical services continue throughout the pandemic and beyond.”
“2020 has been a particularly difficult year and with the holiday season upon us, it is important that services like our food bank can provide a little relief for those in need,” said Mike Richman, Mayor, Village of Pemberton. “I encourage those in our community that are able, to continue to contribute to this critical service. These contributions will have a large impact on many families in need this festive season.”
Donations can still be made through the website at: http://www.sscs.ca/FEED-THE-NEED/