The Clearwater and District Food Bank has seen an increase in usage during the month of March and is having a difficult time finding fresh vegetables and produce, all of which are basics the group uses to provide to those in need (L-r) Pearl McAloney, secretary, Linda Selbee, treasurer, John McFarland, volunteer, Susan McFarland, acting operations manager and Harry James, chair. File photo

Clearwater food bank sees increase in usage

Food bank has hard time finding fresh vegetables and other basics provided to those in need

Many services and charities in the area seem to be taking a hit during the COVID-19 situation and the Clearwater and District Food Bank hasn’t been exempt.

At the beginning of March, the food bank received a substantial two-pallet donation from AG Foods to be used for regular hampers, and also to provide more variety of products for people who use the local service.

“We are so grateful to receive this donation through Buy-Low Foods,” said food bank board member, Linda Selbee, on March 19.

“We thought we were set for spring, (but) we are in the middle of March and have already seen an increase of 35 hampers this month over last year’s numbers. It looks like we will be averaging 30-60 hampers a week if our forecasts are right.”

Selbee added the food bank is having a difficult time finding fresh vegetables and produce like carrots, potatoes, onions, and oranges, all of which are basics the group uses to provide to those in need.

She noted those who work at the food bank were hoping the week that usage went up was a one-off, but can’t be sure due to the influx of people stocking up at grocery stores lately.

“We have businesses on board helping us with Buy-Low donating food when they can, Pioneer Market is trying to source us some vegetables, Home Hardware is taking donations for us when we are not open,” said Selbee.

“The District of Clearwater is advertising and soliciting donations for us. Today, people were dropping in at the food bank and making cash donations — we are so grateful to be in this community and have its support at this time when everyone is so uncertain as to which way to go.”

The food bank has also been complying with social distancing rules, Selbee assured, by allowing only one client in the building at a time to be served, then disinfecting the areas with bleach and water after each client leaves.

Volunteers have been mandated to wear rubber gloves and if someone helping out at the food bank has a sniffle or feels under the weather, they must stay home.

“We would like to thank our clients for helping with the new rules and their patience in waiting for their hamper,” said Selbee.

The Clearwater and District Food Bank is open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and located at 742 Clearwater Village Rd. The service can be reached by phone at 250-674-3402 or by email at

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