Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, receives a cheque from the Ironworkers Local 97 on Wednesday. (Colleen Flanagan-THE NEWS)

Maple Ridge food bank receives $10,000 donation

Friends In Need Food Bank received cheque from Ironworkers Local 97

The Friends In Need Food Bank got a much needed boost Wednesday morning with a donation of $10,000 from Ironworkers Local 97.

About a month ago, Doug Parton with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 97, and a resident of Maple Ridge, had a discussion with Maple Ridge Mission MLA Bob D’Eith about the need for food donations in the community.

So, about a month and a half ago he picked up the phone and talked to his contractors about making donations to Food Banks BC.

The Ironworkers gave $10,000, some contractors gave $10,000 and other smaller contractors donated about $4,000.

The union raised a total of $42,000 and asked for $10,000 to be donated in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

“The biggest group of my membership is in this region,” said Parton about why donating to the Friends In Need Food Bank was particularly important to him.

READ MORE: Almost 500,000 kgs of perishable food distributed from Maple Ridge food bank facility

“A lot of my members make their money doing jobs in these cities. So we thought is was only fitting that we give back to the community we are taking out of,” he said.

It was also important for Parton to raise money for this cause because of the stigma surrounding people and families in need.

“COVID, when it hit, a lot of families have been struggling,” added Parton.

“There is young people, families, community members that have fell on hard times,” he said.

More pressure has been put on food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic, said D’Eith.

“It’s so amazing to see the Ironworkers step up and help the community like this,” he added.

Mary Robson wanted to highlight on the carbon dioxide emissions saved through the food bank’s Perishable Food Recovery Program.

Over the past 12 months, the Perishable Food Recovery Program, delivered in partnership with the Friends in Need Food Bank, has reduced Maple Ridge’s solid waste greenhouse gas emissions by 11 per cent, according data collected by Food Mesh, a company that provides apps and services for food businesses and charities to safely divert surplus food to the highest end use.

“Municipal curbside organics collection programs have been successful in diverting increasing quantities of organic waste – yard trimmings and food scraps – from landfills. Organics diversion activities have environmental benefits, including avoided emissions of landfill gas – which contains methane, a potent greenhouse gas,” said Laura Benson, senior policy and sustainability analyst with the City of Maple Ridge.

“If you totaled up all the curbside collections of household organic waste in Maple Ridge over the past year, the Perishable Food Recovery Program collected an additional 11 per cent and also kept this out of the landfill and avoided those greenhouse gas emissions,” explained Benson.

“We’re doing something environmentally, right. It’s not just about diverting the food to those in need but it’s also reducing the carbon dioxide and we benefit the farms. It’s just a win, win,” said Robson.

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