Trudeau government pledges $50 million to food banks across Canada

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St. Stephen – Last week, the Federal Government announced an investment of $50 million to support the agricultural sector known as the Food Surplus Purchase Program. This funding will go to food banks all across Canada to help with purchasing food, operating expenses, etc.

Donna Linton, Coordinator of the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County Inc. Food Bank said this is money they can use towards their own food purchasing and other expenses.

The food bank operates mostly on donations, and often relies on donations from the community and local businesses. Linton said they partner with the Superstore, Giant Tiger, Miss D’s, and Riverside Grocery, and get all of their unsellable food which they can then use to give to their own clients.

“We’re interested to see how this will play out locally,” said Linton. “Right now, Food Depot Alimentaire will likely be the people who get this product in when it’s available and decide how it’s distributed. They’re really good at dividing up any surplus of any donated or purchased food. They divide it up among all the food banks in the province based on hunger count, which is a really neat number. We’re happy, that’s fair.”

An email from Food Banks Canada that was sent to food banks across the country said that due to COVID-19, demand is “soaring”, and this funding has an “enormous potential to help the growing number of Canadians struggling to deal with the impact of the pandemic”.

Linton said they have also received funding through the JD Irving Fund, along with the Food Banks Canada COVID Fund and the McCain’s Fund. The total received by this food bank was nearly $4,000 that can be used to purchase food and pay for expenses.

“We did have a little bit of a staff increase over the last few weeks, and we can use it towards our general costs of operating the food bank. It was really welcome to have donations like that.”

Not only is Linton grateful for these donations, she said she “can’t be more thankful for the whole community, individuals, and businesses” that have made donations that will help them get through the spring and into the summer. She said they are still in need of non-perishable food donations, as well as monetary donations to ensure that their clients can receive the food they need.

“We’re planning that we could have a busier than ever summer, and thanks to the community, Food Banks Canada, and Food Depot Alimentaire, we’re going to be ready.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca