Port Alberni agencies feed those in need during COVID-19 outbreak

Donations from the community now accepted

The Salvation Army in Port Alberni is located at 4835 Argyle Street. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Several agencies in Port Alberni have teamed up to provide meal services to the community’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bread of Life Centre, which normally feeds Port Alberni’s low income and homeless seven days a week, was forced to close its doors earlier this week (March 16, 2020), citing health concerns for its volunteers and guests from the COVID-19 outbreak.

A daily meal pickup is now available at Port Alberni’s Salvation Army—the site of the city’s Community Food Bank—with food prepared in the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)’s commercial kitchen.

“We [at CMHA] have trained staff here and minimal people,” explained CMHA executive director Katrina Kiefer. “[The Bread of Life has] a lot of vulnerable people volunteering there. They couldn’t guarantee they could keep their volunteers and staff safe.”

CMHA, the Bread of Life and the Salvation Army—with some support from other agencies in town, including the Port Alberni Shelter Society and Literacy Alberni— are working to keep Port Alberni’s most vulnerable population fed throughout the outbreak. Bagged lunches are built in the CMHA kitchen, then delivered to the Salvation Army to be picked up by clients. Staff and volunteers will also be putting together hampers and have been coordinating with the local Backpack Program, which helps to feed elementary school students and their families.

READ MORE: Alberni Valley agencies focus on vulnerable citizens as concern over COVID-19 grows

“We’re seeing a lot of anxiety around food security,” explained Kiefer. “Especially from people living in poverty, who aren’t able to stockpile.”

Agencies are now looking to the local community for donations.

“We’re looking for anything we can make sandwiches with, or anything we can put in a lunch bag,” said Kiefer. “Things like granola bars, protein shakes, canned meat. We’re trying to stay away from candy and things like that and focus on nutrition.”

Donations of toiletries and cleaning supplies—like toilet paper, dish soap, hand soap and hand sanitizer—are gladly accepted. Kiefer said she is also looking for gloves, masks and gowns to help protect volunteers and staff.

The CMHA called a meeting last week to create a working group to look after Port Alberni’s homeless and low income population during the COVID-19 outbreak. Kiefer is still reaching out to other agencies in town.

“That’s our intent, to coordinate services to make it easier and safer to access,” she explained. “We’re coordinating all our efforts through one access point—the Salvation Army.”

READ MORE: Port Alberni mayor provides an update on city’s COVID-19 response

Kiefer is also hoping that an outreach delivery program can be set up for the hampers, but she wants to make sure proper safety measures are in place first.

Other agencies in town who are interested in helping out can reach out to Kiefer at katrina.kiefer@cmha.bc.ca.

Donations of non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and toilet paper can be dropped off at the Salvation Army (4835 Argyle Street) every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cash donations can be made out to Bread of Life Port Alberni online at portalbernibreadoflife.weebly.com or through email transfers: breadoflifesociety@shaw.ca.

Daily meals can be picked up at the Salvation Army seven days per week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are no restrictions on these meal services.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictCoronavirusHealthcarePort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Missing Port Alberni man found deceased

47-year-old had been missing since late June: RCMP

Longtime volunteer retires from Port Alberni’s Abbeyfield House

Doreen Bissette honoured for two decades of volunteerism

Savard prevails with best gross score at Alberni Golf Club

Men’s club prepares for ‘waltz’ on July 12

EDITORIAL: We need to check our ‘plate hate’

Suspicious border activity can be reported

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Most Read