A food drive held this past December is going to make an impact beyond the festive season.
The annual Holiday Food Drive hosted by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Global News raised a total of $2.1 million in in-store cash donations and more than two million pounds of food for food banks across the country.
In the Maritimes, Loblaw’s Atlantic Superstores and affiliate grocers collected more than 234,000 pounds of food and over $176,000 in in-store cash donations. All donations benefit local food banks such as Feed Nova Scotia and New Brunswick’s Food Depot Alimentaire.
Karen Theriault, director of development and communications at Feed Nova Scotia, says food insecurity has been at crisis levels across the province for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the need for food bank support across Canada and recently, the rate of new people supported for the first time by Feed Nova Scotia’s network has doubled between August 2021 and February 2022.
“As we push for change that addresses the root causes of food insecurity, it’s critical we help make sure people have food today,” says Theriault. “Campaigns like this help us do that.”
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Feed Nova Scotia and Food Depot Alimentaire are part of Food Banks Canada’s national network, which supports over 3,000 member agencies such as food banks, shelters and non-profits across the country. Food Depot Alimentaire supports 62 member agencies; Feed Nova Scotia distributes food to 140.
According to Food Banks Canada’s HungerCount 2021 report, visits to food banks climbed 20 per cent nationally since the pandemic began with one in four locations experiencing a 50 per cent increase in demand. The report also shows that in March 2021, visits to food banks topped 1.3 million, the largest increase since the 2008 recession.
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“As we look forward to warmer days ahead, the reality is that the need for food banks remains high coming out of the winter months, especially given the challenges of the current economic environment,” says Kirstin Beardsley, CEO of Food Banks Canada.
With those warmer days quickly approaching, Loblaw Companies Limited doesn’t want Canadians to forget about their local food banks. The corporation is set to launch their annual Spring Food Drive this week. Like December’s Holiday Food Drive, participating grocery stores will be collecting donations of food and funds for two weeks beginning March 31 through to the Easter weekend.
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