31 Mar Feeding hope in Kamloops, BC
Imagine your livelihood revolves around food and then suddenly, you find yourself in the position of not having enough money to feed your family.
That was the unfortunate reality for Brandon and Sarah*, a husband and wife team running a restaurant in Kamloops, BC. “When COVID hit, I think many people realized that it could be them lining up at a food bank,” says Bernadette Siracky, Executive Director of the Kamloops Food Bank.
“But I never thought in a million years that ‘them’ would be us,” continues Brandon.
His wife, Sarah, concurs. “It’s definitely something I’ll never forget. I was in the eerily quiet kitchen of our restaurant—packing up the remaining food to take to the Kamloops Food Bank (as the first round of lockdown orders came into effect). Having gone through the anguish of laying off our staff, we were determined to do anything to keep our business alive. So, we continued to pay our bills and remained hopeful that the temporary closure would have a quick end.”
However, as the lockdown went on, the longer their restaurant remained closed.
“Eventually we needed to ask for help,” continues Brandon. “As someone who owns a restaurant and provides for their family, it was very difficult to accept that fact. However, our nerves were instantly calmed the moment we arrived (at the food bank). The staff greeted us with warmth and there was an instant feeling of community, which was very reassuring.”
Helping to fuel that reassurance was the support the KFB received from Food Banks Canada.
“COVID forced our hand to completely change the way we operate,” says Bernadette in closing. “Food Banks Canada enabled us to hit the ground running by not only recognizing what our challenges were, but provided us with the funding to overcome those challenges. This meant we could cover essential things such as PPE (personal protective equipment), extra staff, and additional food storage. The support we received was very timely. Most importantly, Food Banks Canada took the worry away so that we could continue providing hope during a time when people needed it most—and that means the world to us.”
The Kamloops Food Bank serves over 6,000 people, 54 community agencies, and 9 regional food banks.
*Names have been changed to protect their privacy