Province pledges $50K to P.E.I. food banks, plans talks with federal government after Dorian

P.E.I. food banks are receiving $50,000 from the provincial government for relief after post-tropical storm Dorian, the province announced at a news conference in Summerside Wednesday afternoon.  

The money will be distributed to the Island's five food banks with the aim of getting extra food to Islanders in need. 

"This will certainly go a long way in ensuring that we food banks can provide that service but really ensuring that Islanders have that secure, healthy, nutritious food that they do need at this time," said Mike MacDonald, executive director of the Upper Room Food Bank.

The powerful storm moved through P.E.I. Saturday night and early Sunday, downing power lines and trees and causing widespread outages. 

People without electricity have been advised to throw out food in their fridges because of the health risks of not having refrigeration.

We're assessing the damage and the cost of everything and we're organizing that to talk to the federal government. — Bloyce Thompson, minister of justice and public safety

While it would be ideal for power to be restored more quickly, Thompson said, crews are "doing the best job they can." 

"We're 96 hours post-Dorian. We're very fortunate here on Prince Edward Island to have no one seriously injured from the storm, no major infrastructure was damaged but we are continuing to feel the effects of Dorian," said Minister of Justice and Public Safety Bloyce Thompson.

"Our [Emergency Measures Organization] office was continuously evaluating the situation and we evaluated the needs as it came in and this was the first opportunity we had to fill that void that wasn't fulfilled," he said. 

Thompson said staff at the P.E.I. EMO checked with their counterparts in other provinces about what steps to take next.

"This was their recommendation to our EMO office, we start providing food for the food bank and that would be the best way to reach the most vulnerable Islanders and that's our government's role right now — is to help out the most vulnerable," Thompson said.  

Financial strain

The cost of replacing spoiled food has the potential to put a huge financial strain on some Island families, the province said.

Brian Higgins/CBC

Thompson said that he met with the mayors of both Summerside and Kensington Wednesday morning to discuss the most pressing issues the communities are facing.

Thompson also noted there is potential for additional funds from the province for Dorian relief efforts. 

"We'll be meeting in the morning with cabinet and the premier to discuss things," he said. "We're assessing the damage and the cost of everything and we're organizing that to talk to the federal government."

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