TORONTO -- Despite provinces starting to gradually reopen their economies, the CEO of Food Banks Canada says the demand for their services is greater than ever as the organization makes a renewed appeal to raise $150 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Hatch said Food Banks Canada, a national charitable organization that supports approximately 3,000 food banks across Canada, has already seen a 20 per cent increase in food bank use over the last eight weeks.

“As people draw down their savings, and we see more closures and layoffs and EI (employment insurance) applications, we anticipate we could see as high as a 50 per cent increase in food bank use in the upcoming months,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday. “So we’re trying to prepare for what’s coming around the corner.”

That is why the organization is trying to raise the remaining $70 million of their $150-million goal.

“I’m worried about fatigue and people forgetting about the need not only today, but what’s coming in the future,” Hatch said.

He said they have already raised $80 million through donations from the federal government, corporations, foundations, and individuals since the campaign launched in March.

In an effort to reach their goal, Hatch said they have launched the second phase of their fundraising campaign, which is called I ATE.

“Our mission is to make those two words a reality for every Canadian that can say ‘I ate. I ate lunch. I ate breakfast. I ate dinner. I ate a snack,’” he said.

Hatch said the donations will go directly to food banks and food programs across the country where there is immediate need.

“Currently, the most immediate need is replenishing the shelves with food, and also getting food banks the supplies and resources they need to adjust to the COVID-19, they’ve had to adjust their operations,” he explained.

Hatch said donations can be made on Food Banks Canada’s fundraising site He also encouraged people to create their own fundraising page and challenge their family, friends, and co-workers to donate.

“They can become a fundraiser and help us reach our goal of $150 million and make sure no one in Canada goes hungry,” he said.