The Salvation Army in Nanaimo says it is serving meals to 400 people per day during the pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Salvation Army sees 400 a day using meal program, needs donations

Dawne Anderson, fundraising and promo coordinator, says more clients being fed during pandemic

With an increase of people accessing meal programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Salvation Army in Nanaimo needs a helping hand to continue assisting those in need.

Dawne Anderson, Nanaimo Salvation Army fundraising and promotions coordinator, said there has been a significant uptick in people using lunch and supper programs. Social distancing requirements are being followed, with meals being prepared in the kitchen and served from an emergency vehicle in front of the Nicol Street location, and she said about 400 people are being served a day.

Financial donations are needed, according to Anderson.

“With everyone else, we’ve closed our three thrift stores temporarily,” she said. “That actually brings in a lot of the income into the meal program as well, so without that we’re sort of lessening our abilities.”

Anderson said people can donate by going to the Nanaimo Salvation Army’s website, www.nanaimosa.ca, clicking on the donate tab, selecting British Columbia and then Nanaimo Community Church. People can also mail donations to the Salvation Army, 505 Eighth St., V9R 1B5 or call 250-740-1004.

Anderson said it’s not only people who are experiencing homelessness who are accessing the meal program, but also those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

“We’re certainly seeing a new … clientele coming in,” she said.

People are still using the shelter, Anderson said, but again, physical distancing requirements are in place.

In addition to money donations, non-perishable food items, fresh produce (carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and turnips), disposable gloves, rain ponchos, bath towels, men’s underwear and masks are also sought, according to Anderson.

Anderson estimates there has been a 50 per cent increase in meal program usage and said 9,000 meals were served in April.

RELATED: B.C. sees 8 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths

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