Food, funding essential to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 crisis
Whistler, British Columbia, March 31, 2020 – The Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS), which operates the Whistler Food Bank, would like to acknowledge community members for its remarkable response and outpouring of generosity that is helping to keep the shelves stocked. In the last two weeks, over $188,000 in funds have been raised and pallets of food have been donated in response to help meet a rapid increase in demand from those experiencing sudden food insecurity.
“Since we first put out the appeal to fill the shelves at the Food Bank due to COVID-19, the incredible amount of donations from community members, partners, foundations and businesses has been truly heart-warming”, notes Lori Pyne, acting executive director of WCSS. “We thank you so much for this amazing outpouring of generosity! We are grateful that we can meet unprecedented demand and help those who need it most with emergency food!”
Online donations promoted at livestream après show
The donations started pouring in on Friday, March 20 with a livestream après concert with The Hairfarmers. As soon as their live performances in Whistler bars were cancelled due to COVID-19, ‘Grateful Greg” and ‘Guitar Doug’ generously teamed up with Andrew Bacon of Whistler Live to share the love, the music, and to support WCSS through the livestream show. More than 900 people tuned in and many were moved by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation’s offer to match donations up to $20,000.
Additional cash and food donations
Since March 19, community members and local business have donated $48,000 in cash through online donations. The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation has contributed $20,000. The Whistler Community Foundation released its Emergency Fund totalling $20,000 to help WCSS focus on the Food Bank and Outreach Services. The Katz Amsterdam Foundation (co-founded by Vail CEO Rob Katz) has generously offered $100,000 to help WCSS provide much-needed Outreach Services for the community’s emotional wellness needs.
Large fresh and canned food donations have also greatly helped the Food Bank, with contributions from Whistler Blackcomb, Gibbons, Hy’s Restaurant, Nesters Market, Creekside Market, Moguls, Camp Coffee, Gnarly Roots, Blenz Coffee Whistler, Scandinave Spa and Fresh Point Canada. Further, Gordon Food Service Canada has loaned WCSS a much-needed refrigeration truck and Chefs at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler helped rescue the fresh food, turning it into 200 litres of tasty soup!
Revenue uncertainty with temporary ReUseIt, ReBuildIt closures
The pressures from increased demand on the Food Bank and Outreach Services have been amplified by the closure of WCSS’s business units. To focus all efforts on the Food Bank and maintain a safe working environment, the ReUseIt Centre and the ReBuildIt Centre are closed and unable to accept items for donation at this time. Unsolicited donations take away from the resources required for emergency response and cost WCSS time and money to manage.
As a social enterprise, these centres are the main source of funding for WCSS to operate the Food Bank, Outreach Services and the many programs and services it typically offers. Locals are asked to please keep their donations for a later date, as both centres will happily accept gently used or unwanted items once business resumes. Typically, spring donations are a big part of inventory, so both ReUseIt and ReBuildIt will be counting on these donations once they reopen to generate consistent revenues once again.