Aldergrove Food Bank manager Mary van Zuuk, 68, is still working hard with a team of local volunteers to provide free groceries to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Aldergrove food bank still lending a helping hand during COVID-19 pandemic

The food bank’s donations rose by 75 per cent in the past week, says manager

Aldergrove Food Bank continued to serve individuals and families of the community on Tuesday morning, despite widespread closures due to COVID-19.

Only this time, as it will be in upcoming weeks, 68-year-old manager Mary van Zuuk and assistant manager, Tannis Percival, were wearing surgical masks and gloves.

They helped patrons outside of their building fill out forms requesting what they need and prefer, and transported the slip inside, where the bulk of their volunteers filled the orders.

Both managers fall into the “older adults” category – warned by Canada’s Public Health Agency as people with the highest risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19.

But “imagine if the supermarkets were to close, imagine how some of us would feel,” said van Zuuk, explain the team’s motivation behind continuing to service the needy people of Aldergrove amidst a pandemic.

“Most of our volunteers are 70 years of age or older,” van Zuuk said.

All of them showed up on Tuesday – with the exception of those who had travelled or are immunocompromised, from underlying illnesses that could significantly impact their survival chances upon contracting the virus.

Once the food orders were completed, along with a meal to-go of hot soup, a cheese bun, and pastry, volunteers handed people their weekly bags through a side door.

The team redesigned the food exchange process to limit people’s contact with one another, which is usually close as patrons pick food items from an aisle inside the Aldergrove Vineyard church.

RELATED: Aldergrove food bank ‘blown away’ by winter donations

Only 10 per cent of its patrons were kept from coming on March 17, which van Zuuk said is likely because they are self-isolating.

The food bank serves 60 local families, amounting to around 130 people including individuals and homeless patrons.

Many of those who were there to receive support were “relieved we were open,” she said.

“A crisis brings out the best and worst in people,” van Zuuk said.

Her and her team are feeling supported by the Aldergrove community more than ever before, with a reported 75 per cent rise in FreshCo donations during the past week.

Food donations, through a $10-per-hamper program at the store have gone from $120 dollars worth to $200 in the past week.

“We’re so happy. We have faith,” she said.

The food bank is located at 27309 Fraser Hwy. and serves groceries Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Those in Aldergrove looking to sign up for assistance can call 604-857-1671.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Body found after ‘suspicious’ fire near Langley/Surrey border

No cause of death announced; investigation continues, say RCMP

‘The public has spoken’: Alder Inn to be demolished at $250,000 cost

Township council votes to use $250,000 to demolish the 71-year-old building in downtown Aldergrove

VIDEO: Workout Wednesday focuses on compound exercises

Each week fitness instructor Marion Brand shares at-home workouts

New community market debuts in Langley

Marketplace aims to support local crafters and farmers

Fort Gallery showcases isolation with new exhibition of works created during COVID

Together Alone runs from Friday, July 17, until August 16

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Abbotsford woman starts petition to have B.C. government help with IVF costs

Jennifer Kuiken says cost of in vitro fertilization is too high for most people

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

RCMP searching for culprit behind needle-filled lemons left on Coquitlam-area trails

The two lemons found were thrown away leaving police with little evidence

Most Read