COVID-19 couldn’t stop the Lumby community from stepping up to donate to the local food bank.
“To call it an overwhelming success is an understatement,” said Vernon North Okanagan RCMP traffic officer Gary McLaughlin.
McLaughlin brought the food drive to Lumby six years ago but said he almost thought this year was going to be a no-go due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, it was their best year yet.
In total, the community donated $3,933.25 and 6,340 pounds of food to the Lumby and District Food Bank Wednesday, Oct. 7.
“I was so terrified we wouldn’t get much because of the scenario we’re in, but we had more volunteers turn up than ever,” McLaughlin said.
This year’s food drive was especially necessary, McLaughlin said. On Oct. 2, he told Black Press the food bank’s stock is “critically low” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the workforce.
“They’re just decimated with their stock and there’s never been a bigger need,” McLaughlin said. “It is so bad that some of the management of the local food bank even came to my house and said (they) need help.”
But after Wednesday’s massive success, the shelves at the food bank will be replenished for those in need.
This year’s collection process looked a little different as first responders skipped the typical door-to-door pickup and instead asked residents to leave their donations at the end of their driveway.
Community groups and individuals volunteered to assist and McLaughlin said everyone was all geared up with personal protective equipment complete with masks and gloves.
“The community did their part too to keep everyone safe,” he said. “It was an overwhelming success.”
McLaughlin said everyone involved is ecstatic.
“They killed it,” he said. “We almost doubled our cash donations.”
Last year, the food drive raised more than 6,000 pounds of food and $2,500 in cash donations.
“Clearly, we’re very limited in good new stories this year,” he said. “But we can say COVID-19 didn’t beat us.”