MONTREAL -- As Montreal food banks struggle to keep up with demand, members of the restaurant community are stepping up to help out.

Over the past month, food bankds have seen an increase in demand of 30 per cent, said Moisson Montreal spokesperson Richard Daneau.

“In a very proactive manner, we decided... on April 6 to increase the quantity of food we provide to 250 agencies on a weekly basis,” he said.

Daneau said along with the increase in demand, there's been a reduction in volunteers, though city employees have stepped in to help keep things running.

Many kitchens that prepare food for Meals on Wheels or for the homeless have stopped operating due to concerns over safe physical distancing.

Several professional chefs have stepped into the void. Non-profit organization La Tablee des Chefs approached several local restaurants and now have around 30 eateries contributing food. Their staffs are back at work, and are aiming to cook 1.6 million meals over the next eigh weeks.

“One of the best things about people who work in restaurants or work in hotels and hospitality in general is very few of us are afraid of work or long hours. Most people are pretty excited,” said Candide chef John Winter Russell, who helped design the menus.

Daneau said the help has been greatly appreciated.

“La Tablee des Chefs is coming up at the moment where the supply for those meals is somewhat low,” he said. “The timing is perfect in that respect.”