The CMS Food Bank in South Cowichan has had to close temporarily. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

The CMS Food Bank in South Cowichan has had to close temporarily. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Valley food banks reopen on a limited basis

CMS handing out hampers, Basket Society doing hampers and sandwiches

After closing temporarily last week, two Cowichan Valley banks are reopening this week to hand out hampers.

The Cowichan Valley Basket Society in Duncan shut its doors last week due to a possible COVID-19 contamination, and the CMS Food Bank, which serves Cobble Hill, Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake, also closed last week due to health concerns.

The CVBS reopened on Monday on a limited basis. It will hand out sandwiches between noon and 2 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, serving outside from the back loading deck. Hampers will be handed out between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pick-up arrangements can be made at the food bank or by phone (250-746-1566) starting at 9 a.m. Phone calls are preferred.

The CMS Food Bank in South Cowichan announced on Monday that it will be giving out hampers in April, but only by appointment.

Clients will have to phone or email ahead of time to arrange pick-up of food hampers.

“We don’t want lineups here,” coordinator Traci Waite explained. “We want to avoid that.”

In addition, the food bank will not be accepting food donations at this time, although it will continue to accept cash donations on its website (

Food banks have to be ready for emergencies, but the COVID-19 pandemic was not something they saw coming.

“Talking to other food banks, no on was prepared for this,” Waite said. “We’re prepared for earthquakes, but not for this.”

One challenge they are trying to address is that many staples, like sugar, rice and oatmeal, are bought in bulk and portioned out by volunteers, but for health reasons, they can’t do that right now. CMS has also lost many volunteers, who have chosen to stay home. The average age of volunteers at the food bank, Waite estimated, is about 75.

Waite said she is “super happy” about the provincial government’s announcement on Monday of a $3-million emergency grant from the Community Gaming Grants program to Food Banks BC.

The situation may be changing daily right now, Waite said, but once the pandemic is over, CMS will resume normal activities.

“When we are back up and running and full steam ahead, we’ll be there for them,” she said.


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

Just Posted

Vandals damaged a picnic table at Spectacle Lake Park with a chainsaw earlier this month. (Linda Mills photo)
Editorial: Vandals make victims of us all

It is infuriating when people target public property for vandalism.

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

The latest homeless count in the Valley found 129 in a 24-hour period. (File photo)
Latest homeless count reveals 129 in the Cowichan Valley

But local officials believe number is higher

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Most Read