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See a need, fill a need.
This is exactly what Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department did earlier this week as culinary classes came to an unexpected halt in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tallying the vast amount of ingredients that would have been utilized in student labs and cafeteria plates, instructors gathered as much as they could and delivered it to the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank. Initiated by Ross Derrick, interim Culinary Arts instructor and chef at Cod Fathers Market and Kelsey Oudendag, Culinary Arts instructor, the team loaded dairy products, vegetables and fruit onto pallets for transport.
“Once our department decided to donate the food, the process went so quickly,” says Oudendag. “All it took was one phone call to ensure they were accepting donations and within the hour we had dropped off two full pallets worth of fresh food including fruit, vegetables, eggs and milk. Without Ross generously donating the Cod Fathers delivery truck and his own time to drop off the food, we probably would have had to make multiple trips.
“Once we got to the foodbank, there were plenty of volunteers working hard to help unload and process donations safely. The whole process took about 10 minutes. They are operating in an extremely organized and efficient manner, all thanks to wonderful volunteers.”
Restaurants, hotels, and casinos throughout the Okanagan Valley and province find themselves in the same predicament. While many have been forced to close their doors and lay off employees, many businesses have also seized the opportunity to do something with food that otherwise would spoil.
“During this time of struggle, I’ve seen many people in our hospitality industry band together to support each other, whether it be with time, funds or food,” adds Oudendag. “I’m blown away at the adaptability and generosity in our community.”
The Central Okanagan Community Foodbank is still accepting donations from the public at their location at 2310 Enterprise Way.