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Coronavirus: Saskatoon Food Bank prepares for 25-50% rise in demand

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan food banks supporting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic' Saskatchewan food banks supporting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: Saskatchewan food banks are supporting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic – Apr 8, 2020

Saskatchewan food banks are trying to raise $6 million to support an anticipated increase in demand in the coming months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The province has 32 food banks supporting approximately 40,000 people, on average, a month.

READ MORE: Discarding food unnecessary for Saskatchewan restaurants as need for donations grows

In Saskatoon, the food bank was previously helping 20,000 users a month and making 8,000 food hampers.

That number is expected to skyrocket due to layoffs from the pandemic.

“We’re forecasting a 25 per cent increase but thinking we might have to go up to a 50 per cent increase,” said Laurie O’Connor, executive director of the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

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“I have heard from colleagues across the country that they’re already seeing a 30 per cent increase.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus — One-quarter of Canadians still not fully social distancing, poll suggests

Food Banks of Saskatchewan is running a donation drive for its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund.

The goal is to raise $6 million for the “unprecedented crisis,” according to the donation page.

The Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee Foundation will also match donations up to $100,000.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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