Heavyweights help food bank

Food chains helping out with Share Coupon program

It’s a familiar pattern for the volunteers at the Friends in Need Food Bank – the Christmas rush comes, people give tonnes of food and piles of cash, allowing the food bank to build up its reserves for the coming year. But when those reserves run down, the stress level runs up for those trying to find enough food and cash to fill the monthly hampers that feed the hungry.

Lately, though, some major corporate help is making it easier for the food bank.

“They’re very much coming on board,” said Mary Robson, acting executive-director for the food bank. “They’re really stepping up. These promotions that some of these corporations are doing are huge.”

For the last three years, The Share Program has made a big difference.

Thrifty Foods, Market Place IGA, Coopers and Safeway are all part of the program, in which shoppers can buy a $2 “share coupon” when they’re paying for their groceries. Those coupons are regularly collected by the food bank from each of the stores, then used to buy food stuffs as needed.

For example, recently the food bank ran out of tomato sauce and chunky soups. Thanks to the program staff were able to hunt around for the best deal and replenish supplies.

“We haven’t yet had to go into our cash reserves because of the Share Program,” Robson said.

Because of the success of Share, the society recently approved giving out milk and eggs twice a month to families and seniors.

“We wouldn’t be able to do that if the Share program wasn’t successful.”

Normally, the food bank gives out a hamper or bag of groceries every month, while providing some extras, such as meat, fruit or bread once a week, depending on availability.

Other programs help too. Save-on Foods and Campbell Company of Canada are cooperating on the Help Hunger Disappear program, now in its sixth year. Campbell’s products are discounted by $1, while Campbell’s will make cash donations.

There is also Envision Financial’s, The Full Cupboard program, in which the credit union will raise $1 million for local food banks over the next decade.

To kick-off the program, Envision Financial is making a $5,000 donation to Food Banks B.C. and $1,000 donations to each of the 11 food banks in the 10 communities where the credit union operates – resulting in a total investment of $16,000.

Mark’s and Westminster Savings are two of the other major corporate donors noted on the food bank’s website, while the new Target store will also be helping out.

While there’s no sudden panic in the number of people needing food, the recent number of now more than 700 registrants, provided to Food Bank Canada, shows a steady increase.

“When I see young families coming in with children … how can this be? What’s wrong with our society that they have to rely on the food bank. It’s just the cost of living, families on welfare … ”

Friends in Need has more than 60 volunteers and 1.5 paid staff.

“I’ve never seen a group of more dedicated volunteers. They really are dedicated. They come in at six o’clock in the morning and do their four or five hours and they come back the next day.”

Just Posted

Class sizes dropped from among the worst in B.C.

Maple Ridge trustees review statistics

Heavy downpours expected in parts of Metro Vancouver

Heavy rain will begin to ease off Sunday evening as the frontal system moves south out of the area

Another Friday night fire in Maple Ridge

Abandoned house in Silver Valley area burns

Police investigate string of overnight fires in North Delta

Suspected arson caused damage to vehicles, signage in the area, Delta Police say

MacDuff: Memories at the kitchen table

It was tradition to attend the Remembrance Day service with my mom,… Continue reading

Maple Ridge remembers

Remembrance Day ceremony and parade in downtown Maple Ridge.

Crash shuts down Highway 91 in Richmond for hours

The stretch of highway was closed for more than 6 hours due to a multi-vehicle accident

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Most Read