Faces of COVID

Kitty – Food Bank Manager

This is Kitty. She is the manager of a local food bank.

“There have been quite a few changes in the past year. We’ve doubled our staff to help with programming and our client base has increased from around 2500 households per month to around 3500. This has created some strain on our resources and it’s been difficult to keep up, especially with no end in sight.

We went from serving around 25 clients a week last year to serving upwards of 300.

We also had to shift to making appointments to adapt to the increasingly long lines caused by the precautions we have to take as COVID continues. There is still a definite strain on our resources as we are now receiving fewer donations and have to spend more money on buying food to stock our shelves.

One bright spot is that we’ve been able to vaccinate all our staff and have been able to extend that opportunity to our volunteers. The workplace feels a lot safer now, which is a huge relief.

Even with the challenges, I feel pretty good about where things are going. In the spring, we are hoping to move to a new space. We are also hoping to improve our programming when things start to open back up after COVID. It’s been a big adjustment, but I feel that we are in a good place.”

Author’s Note: I re-interviewed Kitty because I thought it was important to see how food banks and community organizations have adapted their programming to COVID-19 in the long term. It’s important to hear her perspective again as she reflects on the changes and progress the organization has made as they have tackled the challenges of the pandemic.

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Gemma Donn


Gemma Donn is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Violin Performance program, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Gemma works as the Coordinator at Parkdale Community Food Bank, and is a violin teacher at Upper Beaches Music School. She is the Creative Director at Songs in Self-Isolation, a program that provides virtual performances for seniors and hospital patients in isolation. Gemma also volunteers as a research assistant at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Artists’ Health Centre at the University Health Network.

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