Surviving the Pandemic in Nelson
This summer Nelson’s food banks numbers stayed the same but clientele changed.
The number of people visiting food banks and soup kitchens in Nelson did not change much during the pandemic.
But the make-up of the client group was different. There were newcomers and drop-outs.
The Food Pantry
That social aspect is important to Nora Nitz, who runs the Food Pantry at St. Saviours Anglican Church.
“There is a camaraderie; even at six feet apart with everybody wearing masks,” says Nitz. “And the people that have been coming to us over the years, they definitely made all the newcomers as comfortable as possible.”
During the pandemic the Food Pantry has seen a significant number of newcomers, although this has dropped off now. Nitz says many of them were on CERB, were underemployed or were making less money at their jobs, such as servers with fewer tips.
For many of them, standing in a line at a food bank for the first time was a humbling experience.
“It takes a lot for a person to first admit to themselves, ‘I can’t do this alone.’ And then they have to stand there and say, ‘Everybody here now knows I can’t do it alone.’ And then their brain goes, ‘Wait, neither can they. I’m not alone.’ There’s a really big relief when people realize, ‘I’m not alone.’”
Nitz says a few of The Food Pantry’s donors ended up using the service during the pandemic.
“They donated in December, and they found themselves standing in line in April.”
The largest group at the Food Pantry is still, as always, seniors and people with disabilities.
Edited from a report in the Nelson Star June 6, 2021