Canadian members turn out to help the hungry

Highlights of the Canadian Foodbank Initiative

COVID-19 has taken its toll financially, emotionally, and physically worldwide, and one of its major impacts has been an increase in food insecurity. Putting food on the table wasn’t easy for many individuals before the pandemic, but high unemployment rates, lack of full-time work, and being hit with much higher bills once COVID-19 payment deferrals come due has left many people literally unsure of where their next meal is coming from. Canada’s citizens are not immune.

The UCT in Canada committee, which is chaired by UCT Director Bernie Regenbogen of Jack Kidd Council 755 in Saint John, New Brunswick, saw the uphill battle Canadian food banks were facing and decided, with the help of the committee, to do something about it by challenging UCT’s Canadian local councils to assist food banks in their area between Easter and June 20. And, of course, whether it was collecting and contributing food or making cash donations, Canada’s councils responded by collecting more than 70,000 pounds of food and donating over $75,000 to local food banks and other organizations that support them.

Kudos to the councils that participated in the food bank initiative. The committee is so pleased with the results that they’re considering another drive in late autumn to help hungry individuals in their communities throughout the holidays, so watch for more information to come.

Cape Breton Council 883, Sydney, Nova Scotia – Member Sam Adams, right, presents a $500 donation to Marco Amgti, general manager of Loaves & Fishes food bank to help them feed the community. Initially seen as a short-term endeavor in feeding the hungry, it quickly became apparent the food bank has a more permanent role to play in Sydney, serving over 52,268 meals last year alone.

Jack Kidd Council 755, Saint John, New Brunswick – Council 755 members deliver goods from their highly successful food drive for the East Side Food Bank and the North End Food Bank Association. Members encouraged the community to contribute non-perishable food items to a number of drop off points, resulting in a HUGE haul to help those struggling with food insecurity. Pictured, left, are Gerry Borden, Olivia Donovan, Lynn Capson, and Theresa McKiel.

St. Albert, Alberta Council 1024 – Members join with the local Lions Club to set up and monitor food and household item donation boxes at the area Save on Food location, collecting a number of BIG boxes full of items donated by community members to help the less fortunate in St. Albert.

Madawaska Council 830, Edmundston, New Brunswick – Member Jacques Therrien, left, presents a BIG $3,000 donation to Yves Sevegni of Atelier R.A.D.O. as its Canadian food bank project. Atelier R.A.D.O. provides the Greater Madawaska region with a food bank, soup kitchen, clothing counter services, and emergency services.

Red Deer, Alberta Council 1021 – Members came together in a big way for the Canadian Foodbank Initiative, donating $500 and 300 pounds of food to the Red Deer Food Bank. Pictured are members Duane Demeria and Marg Rumsey.

Fredericton, New Brunswick Council 746 – Council 746’s annual UCT Murray Dunnett Cash Dinner, a virtual event this year, was able to raise $4,000 for local food banks through ticket sales topping 225. Members used the portion of ticket sales normally used to cover the cost of the event’s dinner to instead purchase gift cards from local restaurants, which they then distributed to frontline workers at long-term homes. A win-win-win-win situation for sure!

Sherwood Park, Alberta Council 1022 – Council 1022 members – 20 in all – joined with the local Rotary Club, Elks, and Knights of Columbus to hold a one-day food donation drive for the Strathcona County Food Bank. Eight area grocery stores and the Strathcona County Library provided space for the donations with a local church serving as command center, which resulted in a collection of 31,000 pounds of food along with gift cards and cash donations. The four clubs plan to make this an annual event.