Kamloops COVID Meal Train marks 555 days, launches campaign to keep charity on track

·2 min read
Volunteers Danica Fletcher and Sepkhae Lind work to provide meals distributed to Kamloops residents in need through the Kamloops COVID Meal Train.  (Doug Herbert/CBC - image credit)
Volunteers Danica Fletcher and Sepkhae Lind work to provide meals distributed to Kamloops residents in need through the Kamloops COVID Meal Train. (Doug Herbert/CBC - image credit)

For 555 days since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kamloops COVID Meal Train has served food to thousands of people in need.

The group has provided nearly 100,000 free breakfasts, lunches and dinners to those less fortunate with volunteers trying to fill in for other services that were scaled back or shut down during the pandemic.

Volunteer Danica Fletcher says the group wouldn't be able to continue without the help of donations from the community.

"There's such a huge void in communities that there's people on the street that aren't being fed and people on the street that aren't being talked to or looked at or acknowledged even," she said.

The group has now launched a campaign that will last for 55 days, aimed at raising funds and bringing in more food to allow the meal train to keep delivering in Kamloops.

Doug Herbert/CBC
Doug Herbert/CBC

Fletcher says what keeps her helping out is the huge changes she sees in the people who regularly receive meals.

Volunteer Heather McDonald says that due to a city policy, they aren't allowed to serve any food or water on their premises.

'It's red tape'

"If somebody comes in, they need water or they need tampons, they need whatever," she told CBC's Daybreak Kamloops. "We can provide it, but we just have to go off property. So if we're on the sidewalk, it's OK."

Instead, the meals prepared out of 'The Loop,' a community resource centre in North Kamloops, are delivered directly to people in need.

"It's silly. It's red tape, but at least we're providing the services," McDonald said.

At 89-years-old, Sepkhae Lind is Kamloops COVID Meal Train's oldest volunteer.

"I grew up during World War II in Holland, I have been hungry and [have] crawled through the dirt to find leftover potatoes and beets and stuff to bring home," she said.

For that reason, Lind says volunteering and helping the community is especially important to her.

"There will be people that never thought they would be suddenly without food, without income, without a home to come home to. So for me, it's so important," said Lind.

The group says the new campaign aims to raise up to $55,000 to help keep the meal train up and running.

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