Flood injury disrupts provides to meals banks in Higher Victoria – Vancouver Island Free Each day

Greater Victoria food banks are feeling the impact of the supply chain constraints caused by the pandemic and upset by last month’s floods, but some were able to avoid the worst thanks to a combination of luck and planning.

Downtown Victoria Mustard Seed Food Bank continued to provide much-needed support to its customers but was forced to change its plans for Christmas baskets this month.

“We were about to receive our Christmas baskets product … and a lot of that product was in Calgary when the streets washed out,” said Treska Watson, director of food safety. “We had to switch to gift cards because we just don’t have the products.”

Watson said the situation means the food bank team will monitor stocks even more closely than they normally do. It also means they will likely need to adjust the contents of future baskets based on what foods are running low.

For now, this means that baked and dairy products may not be in gift baskets for a while, while increasing amounts of fruits and vegetables are being replaced so customers don’t get less food overall.

Despite the bottlenecks during the particularly busy Christmas season, when the number of first-time users of the board has increased 20 percent this year, Watson said the board was in a decent position in the short term. In the long run, however, it remains difficult to predict.

READ MORE: Growing Demand, Prices; Food chain disruptions affect the Lions Food Bank in the Saanich Peninsula

At Goldstream Food Bank, buyer Susan Still said they had so far managed to avoid the impact of the flooding on the supply chain by placing her fall and winter orders earlier than usual.

“I placed my order for October in mid-September, and then I placed another order for November in early October so I had everything I needed for December,” Still said. “I got all of my things, except for 36 cases of coffee.”

Had these orders not been placed this early, the Tafel might have only had 40 percent of the supplies it needed for its Christmas baskets.

While the baskets work as usual, the ordering process is not the case.

Food orders that would normally take two weeks to arrive now take nearly two months.

After Avoiding the worst, Still said the panel currently has enough inventory to see it through by spring and even share some of its supplies with other panels in the area who have not been so lucky. However, given the likely length of the flood recovery, she expects inventory levels to run lean in the summer as the effects of the supply chain catch up with them.

READ MORE: West Shore RCMP plans to fill canoes and police cruisers with food this weekend

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BC FloodCOVID-19Food SafetyWest Shore

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