During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have either experienced or seen videos of people becoming upset over everything from being told to wear masks in grocery stores or fights breaking out over buying things like toilet paper. Such examples illustrate how people can behave unexpectedly during this unpredictable and anxious time period.
Locally, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) has sought to avoid that, but the discontinuation of a security team provided by the city has prompted them to ask for help.
GVFB CEO David Long explained in a news release that the organization has found that security is necessary to prevent conflicts from arising during a time of great need and stress for everyone and to ensure that health measures are practised.
“One of our learnings through the pandemic is that we require security onsite during food distribution to ensure physical distancing protocols are being followed, and to help deescalate tensions or frustrations during these incredibly stressful times,” Long stated.
Unfortunately, not only is the GVFB losing the use of the Mount Pleasant Community Centre as programming resumes there (and already had to vacate the Queen Elizabeth Theatre site), the city will no longer be providing the food bank with security staff.
The good news is after the GVFB announced earlier this month that they needed a new location, Low Tide Properties is now donating the use of their 20,000-square-foot warehouse on Charles Street as a temporary site for the food bank while the GVFB’s leased location undergoes renovation.
In the meantime, the GVFB is searching for security companies willing to donate staff members for their new location.
Long said that they are searching for a few security officers to work about five hours a day for four days each week. He added that they are willing to work with several companies that are able to offer only some time each week.
Out of the GVFB’s four sites—which include Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, and the North Shore—the Vancouver location is the busiest site, serving about 300 to 400 people every day.