TORONTO -- Food Banks Canada says that donations topped more than $8 million to date, five days after the appeal was made in the ‘Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble’ special that saw Canadian icons including Bryan Adams, Justin Bieber, and Jann Arden come together in a national salute to front-line workers combating COVID-19.

According to the non-profit organization, it’s among the largest amounts ever raised as a result of a charitable television special in Canada, as well as the most raised through a text-to-donate channel in Canada in such a short period: more than $1.6 million over a four-day span. The money raised will provide immediate support as food banks respond to the coronavirus crisis.

Before the pandemic, there were about 1.1 million visits per month at food banks across the country before the pandemic, Food Banks Canada chief executive officer Chris Hatch told The Canadian Press earlier this week. But in recent weeks, usage has risen 20 per cent, Hatch said.

Hatch said the organization directly supports 700 food banks and indirectly supports 2,300 others across the country.

The star-studded 90-minute special was shown on TV, radio streaming and on-demand platforms and became the most-watched, non-sports Canadian broadcast on record, it was announced earlier this week, with audience data showing it was watched in some part by more than 12 million viewers, or one-in-three Canadians.

The special is available on demand on Crave,, the CTV app,, the iHeartRadio Canada app.

Canadians can continue to donate to Food Banks Canada by texting COVID to 30333 or visiting until May 26.

With a report from The Canadian Press