TRURO – Major grocer Sobeys has launched its fourth annual Fill the Food Bank, Fuel the Community campaign in support of food banks across Atlantic Canada.
A program unique to Atlantic Canada, the food and fundraising campaign has raised more than $2.6 million to date in support of food banks across the region.
The campaign this year runs until Nov. 6 throughout Sobeys’ network of more than 300 stores, warehouses and office locations in the Atlantic Provinces. All proceeds, whether food or monetary, will stay in the local communities.
“In the past three years, our network of stores, warehouses and office locations have raised more than $2.6 million in food and funds for Atlantic food banks thanks to the incredible support of the community,” said Brian Morrissey, general manager of Sobeys Atlantic, in a press release. “However, we know the demand for food bank services continues to rise, and we are once again rallying together to meet that need.”
Customers can support their local food bank at participating locations by donating $2 when purchasing groceries or fuel, or purchasing a ‘Hamper of Hope’ bag of food for $5 or $10. Stores will also host community fundraising initiatives at participating locations including Sobeys, Foodland, Needs, Clover Farms and Fast Fuel.
According to the release, food bank use in Nova Scotia has grown by 39.3 per cent since 2008; the province has experienced the largest growth in need in Atlantic Canada. In addition, HungerCount 2012 notes that 14 per cent of food banks in Canada ran out of food last year and 55 per cent had to cut back the amount of food provided to each family.
“Over the past four years, the need for food banks has certainly expanded,” said Dianne Swinemar, executive director of FEED Nova Scotia. “People who you might not expect to see at a food bank, including working people, two-parent families, seniors, and homeowners, are coming to us for assistance. The need is real and Sobeys’ support to meet that need is appreciated.”
Since January 2000, Sobeys has donated more than one million kilograms of food to FEED Nova Scotia through the company’s year-round giving programs.
According to FEED Nova Scotia, the demand is greatest for non-perishable items, including canned fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereal, flour, canned soup, rice, pasta and sauce, beans, peanut butter, and baby formula and baby food.
Food Banks Canada’s HungerCount 2012 reported that close to 900,000 Canadians are assisted by food banks every month, and 38 per cent of those helped are children and youth.