DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- Easter hampers filled with fresh food -- and love -- are being delivered throughout Dartmouth, N.S. ahead of the holiday weekend to ensure everyone has access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Oh I really appreciate it,” says hamper recipient Helena Claridge. “I even eat the stuff that I can’t eat so that I have something to eat.”

Claridge is one of many clients at Lake City Works, a charitable organization that supports individuals living with mental illness.

Along with support from the United Way and Sobeys, the organization is able to provide meals to its clients.

The group’s executive director, Liam O’Rourke, says it’s important to take care of the community all-year round, but especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Those that don’t have family support, don’t have access to food, and those that might be at risk to have their mental illness flare up throughout this incredibly stressful time,” explains O’Rourke.

Lake City Works started delivering 40 food cases per week about a month ago. Since then, the number has already doubled to 80, and O’Rourke expects it to continue to climb, which means the organization will need more support.

The manager of the Sobeys in Halifax’s Spryfield neighbourhood says it’s important to keep those most vulnerable in our communities fed during the holiday weekend, and beyond.

The Spryfield location has donated more than 3,000 food hampers to Lake City Works and Feed Nova Scotia.

“We all know that everyone needs to eat, there’s lots of reasons why people are struggling to get to grocery stores or can’t, so to make sure that they’re able to get food, not only during Easter but all the time, is extremely important,” says store manager Garron Carmichael.

“They’re bringing me a care package,” says Lake City Works client Carl Arndt. “I don’t need to go out as much, I can stay in more, I don’t have to go out to the grocery store.”

It’s a sign of community that means the world to so many people during a very uncertain time.