Salvation Army-run food banks along Hwy16 are already putting a federal grant to use in responding to needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationally, the Salvation Army received $4 million of $100 million provided by the federal government to a variety of food-providing organizations in early April with the Army’s food bank covering Smithers and Houston receiving $20,000, the one in Prince Rupert receiving just over $30,000 and the one in Terrace $25,000.
In Terrace, the Army is maintaining its food bank openings on the first week and third weeks of each month and now offers its food share program four days a week, says Lt. Rick Apperson.
“It’s been really good to have that kind of support,” he said of the federal grant received locally.
The money has already been put to into use by arranging for a bulk order of food.
With local shoppers, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic declaration, stocking up on items, Apperson said it was difficult for local stores to fill bulk orders with supplies they were getting.
But that was rectified by local stores arranging for bulk orders through their head offices.
“Safeway and Save-On have really responded by going right to their distribution points,” said Apperson.
The Army’s mobile kitchen is also being pressed into service by making stops at both Mills Memorial Hospital, one of three northern hospitals designated as a COVID-19 primary care centre, and at Terraceview Lodge to provide refreshments for staff.
“It’s a gesture of appreciation for the work they’re doing — to support the staff,” Apperson added.
He estimates the federal grant will help the Army sustain its efforts into early June.
The federal grant has also helped the Army in reaching out to strengthen existing connections and to build new ones with various other agencies in Terrace.
“We’ve been working with the Kermode Friendship Centre and Volunteer Terrace particularly to meet the needs of seniors, those who are self-isolating,” said Apperson.
The Salvation Army arranges for food packages which are then delivered by Kermode or Volunteer Terrace.
He estimates 150 seniors are being helped as a result.
Above all, Apperson said he’s been amazed and grateful at how the community and its agencies are now working in harmony.
“If there’s a blessing to come out of this, it’s that — how we are all working to support each other. In Terrace it’s been amazing.”
And one this pandemic has concluded, Apperson hopes that level of cooperation and support within the community continues.
The Salvation Army in Smithers and Houston reports a doubling and even a tripling of the need for its various food programs and in Prince Rupert, with pick up of food now suspended, its delivering food parcels in that city and in next-door Port Edward.