As public events are cancelled and large gatherings are banned across Alberta to stop the spread of COVID-19, more than 800 people still converge at the Drop-In Centre every evening for the shelter’s dinner service.

It’s an essential service for people with nowhere else to go and no means to buy food, and shelters are exempt from capacity limits imposed by the province. But as COVID-19 cases in Alberta neared 500 on Thursday, Calgary shelters are racing to move their clients into new housing and change their operations to protect people without any private space where they can self-isolate.

Newmarket’s food bank will be temporarily serving its clients by delivering food as of April 1 as an additional COVID-19 precaution.

The Newmarket Food Panty will be closing its doors to clients for the month of April, said executive director Judy Poulin, and instead will be preparing food hampers for direct deliveries.

To receive a food hamper, clients must call 905-895-6823, ext. 120 to book a delivery day for April.

Clients will be required to be at home between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to accept the delivery, and will receive a call from the driver beforehand.

When you lock people down (to save their lives), you inevitably close down a lot of the economy as well. And the lockdown will definitely have to last in most countries until May or June — Donald Trump’s promise of a “beautiful timeline” to reopening the U.S. economy just two weeks hence being delusional.

So where’s the money coming from in the meantime?

The majority of people still have jobs they get paid for: people in essential services who have to go to work, people who can do their work from home, and quite a few others as well.

However, between a third and quarter of the employed population has been left idle as their employers, from airlines to retail businesses, downsize or shut temporarily. If you leave these people without income, then you are reproducing the conditions of the Great Depression of the 1930s when unemployment peaked at 24 per cent in the United States and the country’s GDP shrank by almost half.

Not all Victoria residents are in support of the city’s new plan to transform three local parks into temporary homeless shelters.

The city says it will be opening temporary outdoor shelters at the gravel soccer field at Beacon Hill Park, Topaz Park and Royal Athletic Park.

However, people whose homes back onto Topaz Park say the new plan is sparking concern amongst neighbors.

With classes cancelled and students at home, the Fredericton High School had been sitting empty for weeks. Now, it’s become a safe haven for the city’s homeless population.

The out-of-the-cold centre, run by the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre, has temporarily set up shop in the high school to provide more space for proper social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school’s gymnasiums and dressing rooms now house beds, each spaced out by two metres, or about six feet. People using the shelter also have access to the school’s washrooms, showers and cafeteria.

People are worried about their health, their loved ones, and their future. They’re worried about paying the bills next week.

Experts are telling governments to get money into people’s pockets immediately to blunt the economic hardship from the COVID-19 crisis.

What we need in these unprecedented times is a dose of economic solidarity that will ensure no one falls through the cracks.

And the most efficient and least bureaucratic way to do this is direct cash payments in the form of an emergency universal basic income.

Recently, the UBC Library, the AMS and the UBC Okanagan Students Union ran the bi-annual Food for Fines Campaign. The campaign invites students to reduce their UBC library fines by donating non-perishable food items: $3 in fines paid for each food item donated (to a $60 maximum). The donations go to the UBC AMS Food Bank on Campus and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, which provide — up to six times a term — food relief for hungry UBC students.

At first glance, this food charity initiative looks like a triple win situation for students: we escape library debt; we support a noble cause and if food waste is reduced, we make good use of that tuna can about to expire. However, evidenced-based and internationally-recognized Canadian research shows that food banking as a response to food insecurity is ineffective, counterproductive and undermines human rights.