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Food Banks Canada Launches Retail Program to Increase Food Support to Food Banks

TORONTO, March 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Food Banks Canada has launched a new initiative to increase the amount of food distributed to food banks across the country. The new Retail Food Program in partnership with Loblaw Companies Limited, Target Canada and Walmart Canada, aims to increase the support to food banks through the donation of surplus food and household products to local food banks.

Close to 900,000 Canadians rely on the assistance of a food bank each month – according to Food Banks Canada’s annual HungerCount survey – which is a 31% increase since the 2008-09 recession. With this significant increase over the last number of years, food banks are struggling to meet the need and acquire a consistent supply of quality food.

The Retail Food Program will connect local food banks with grocery retail stores across the country. Participating retailers will work with local food banks to set aside a mix of fresh, frozen and non-perishable products, depending on product assortment agreements.

“Our efforts to increase the availability of quality safe food is essential for food banks across the country,” said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “We’re thrilled that we have three leading retail partners launching this program with us.”

The program will match over 400 food banks with 1,500 stores and with expected weekly pick-ups, it is anticipated to bring hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh, frozen and non-perishable foods. Today food banks collect an estimated 200 million lbs of food – valued at $500 million, annually.

Loblaw, Target and Walmart have made other significant donations to the food bank community through a variety of programs:

  • Since 2009, Loblaw donated $5.6 million and 6.3 million lbs of food through its Extra Helping Food Drive campaigns and also has contributed $1.2 million through corporate donations;
  • Walmart donated over $1 million through philanthropic and cause marketing campaigns and donated over 160,000 lbs of food in 2012; and
  • Target donated over $243,000 to the food bank community from the $1 million Give with Target campaign and prepared close to 1,200 personal care kits during its December Day of Service. In addition, Target has committed $656,000 over three years as part of their donation to Food Banks Canada’s programs.

“A retail food program is an ideal collaboration between grocery retail stores and local food banks,” said Chris Hatch of The Mississauga Food Bank. “We’re really grateful to Walmart, Target and Loblaw for their support and for the opportunity to work together to provide additional food to those in need in our community.”

The support of the retail community is essential to the work of the food bank community – from local support through programs like the Retail Food Program to national cause marketing campaigns that help to raise awareness, community support and much needed food and funds.

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85% of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit www.foodbankscanada.ca for more information.

For further information:
Media contact:
Marzena Gersho, Food Banks Canada,
(647) 242-5919 (mobile) or
(416) 203-9241, ext. 228 (office)

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 134,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

About Target

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,787 stores – 1,784 in the United States and three in Canada – and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $4 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/corporateresponsibility.

About Walmart Canada

Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of more than 375 locations nationwide serving more than one million customers each day, as well as its flagship online store, www.walmart.ca, which is visited by over 250,000 Canadians daily. With over 94,000 associates, Walmart Canada is one of Canada's largest employers and is recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as having one of Canada's top 10 corporate cultures. Walmart Canada is focused on helping Canadian families in need. Since 1994, Walmart has donated and raised more than $160 million to Canadian charities and not-for-profit organizations. Additional company information can be found at walmartcanada.ca, facebook.com/walmartcanada and at twitter.com/@walmartcanada.

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