As Nova Scotia schools closed, requests for food assistance grew

·2 min read
Feed Nova Scotia trucks outside its location on Wright Avenue in Dartmouth.  (Paul Poirier/CBC - image credit)
Feed Nova Scotia trucks outside its location on Wright Avenue in Dartmouth. (Paul Poirier/CBC - image credit)

As schools across Nova Scotia closed this week as COVID-19 lockdown measures took hold, so did the school meal programs many students rely on. Families were instructed by their schools to call 211, the provincial hotline, if they required food assistance and hundreds did.

With the recent lockdown, Feed Nova Scotia has been delivering more food boxes than ever. The organization is now sending out more than 1,500 boxes per week, compared to 400 boxes beforehand.

In May 2020, Feed Nova Scotia started delivering boxes of non-perishable food in response to the pandemic as more people stayed home.

Since then, they've delivered more than 23,000 of these boxes.

"In short, we're here to help so no one goes hungry and we know some families are dependent on school food programs," Nick Jennery, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia, told Information Morning Nova Scotia.

Jennery also wants people to understand that the food box program is meant for people who can't get to food banks or use other food programs.

This is because Feed Nova Scotia's partnership with 211 doesn't have the appropriate resources to deliver to everyone in the province. He said Nova Scotians who can access a normal food bank should still do so.

Jennery said food boxes of non-perishable items are assembled at Feed Nova Scotia's headquarters Dartmouth before being sent out with hired delivery drivers. There are no volunteers currently, with everything being done through paid contract work and Midland courier.

He said they are unable to send frozen and fresh food in these boxes, something normal food banks already provide.

They are still taking food donations but due to COVID-19 cases rising, Feed Nova Scotia decided to lower risk by not having volunteers. Despite this, Jennery said he has been happy about the response from the province.

"The communities have been nothing short of amazing in trying to help us," he said.