Donations of cash and non-perishable food are imperative for taking care of the growing number of people needing help from the Friends in Need Food Bank.
But the need right now, is something a little different – and maybe unexpected.
The food bank needs egg cartons – at least 200 of them, as soon as possible, explained executive director Mary Robson.
Since the onslaught of the COVID pandemic, eggs have been in short supply at the local grocery stores. Consequently, the food bank’s traditional source for eggs has fallen through.
Earlier this month, Robson found a new egg suppliers – the only downside, the eggs come in flats, not cartons.
It’s hard to send clients home with eggs, unless they’re in protective cartons, Robson laughed, noting her team has been doing a lot of repackaging.
She put out a call a few weeks ago for egg cartons to help in this repackaging process, and several people – including clients – came to their aid.
“There were so many. People were leaving egg cartons hanging on our door (in plastic bags),” Robson recounted.
However, now – with no changes in sight for egg suppliers – more cartons (that hold a dozen eggs) are needed, she said in putting out a plea for help on Friday.
While egg cartons are on her immediate wishlist, Robson said the food bank still needs cash donations and contributions of non-perishable food items, as well.
The numbers of people in need, and consequently the number of hampers going out, are increasing and only expected to rise further in the coming weeks.
Last year, the food bank was supplying an average of 650 households – in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and on the Katzie First Nation territory – with a month with hampers. That number has risen to 730 households in recent weeks, and Robson predicts the increase is only the tip of the iceberg.
“I think things are just starting to resonate with people right now,” she said, with so many people out of work and starting to scramble financially – after burning through whatever savings they may have had.
As well, the food bank is providing food for a couple thousand meal and snack programs still being offered through the school district, despite COVID.
Financial donations can be made through the Friends In Need Food Bank website. Donations of food can be dropped off at the back door of the Maple Ridge depot, at #8, 22726 Dewdney Trunk Rd., during office hours 7 a.m. to noon, Mondays through Fridays.
The healthier food most needed, according to Robson, is kids snacks, granola bars, small juice boxes, fruit cups, canned fruit and vegetables, Boost and Ensure, canned meats and fish, meals in a tin (chilli, ravioli, stew, baked beans), Kraft Dinner, and Side Kicks.
Non-perishable food can also be dropped off at the donation bins at the front of the Save-On-Foods and Thrifty’s stores. And most local grocers are participating in the $2 food bank donation program available at the tills.