This past year has been especially difficult for food banks on the mission to end hunger in Canada.
While food banks across the country have been experiencing a decline in public donations, the demand for food bank services has also never been higher.
According to our HungerCount 2022 report, which is our flagship cross-sectional survey of most food bank agencies, food bank use rose to its highest levels in Canadian history in 2022, with nearly 1.5 million visits made to food banks across Canada in the month of March alone.
With food bank use increasing at rates not seen since the aftermath of the 2008 recession, food bankers are telling us that they are concerned about what another possible recession in early 2023 could mean for future donations and their ability to keep up with increasing demand.
Especially during the increased pressure of the holiday season, food bankers on the front lines are welcoming the annual Loblaw Holiday Food Drive to help fill food bank shelves.
Help address hunger this holiday season
From December 2 to December 24, Food Banks Canada is calling on Canadians to donate money or non-perishable food items to the Loblaw Holiday Food Drive at any Loblaw grocery store location. In Quebec, the food drive will run from December 1 to December 31 at all Provigo, Maxi and Club Entrepot stores. Donation bins will be available for in-store food collection at all Loblaw banner stores for the duration of the campaign, and monetary donations will be accepted at the register upon checkout.
This year, noting the increased demand, Loblaw will be matching customer donations up to $100,000 in an effort to help Canadians in need. One hundred per cent of food and cash donations will be directed to the local food bank in the community area where the food and funds were raised.
“Partnering with Food Banks Canada provides us with the opportunity to give back to the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said Emma Race, Sr. Director, Sustainability & Social Impact, Loblaw Companies Limited. “In a year with heightened need, we wanted to step forward to provide additional support by matching funds raised in store, to help more communities across Canada and provide some additional relief to those food banks feeling strained this season.”
Loblaw Companies has been a long-standing partner of Food Banks Canada. Since the beginning of their partnership in 2014, Loblaw, its employees and customers have donated almost 27 million pounds of food to food banks across the country through two annual food drives. In addition to the two annual campaigns, Loblaw has also contributed over 38 million pounds of food to local food banks through the Food Banks Canada food rescue program.
“Canada’s food banks are facing unprecedented challenges as the number of food bank visits continue to soar, up 35 per cent this year compared to visits during the same time period in 2019,” shared Kirstin Beardsley, CEO, Food Banks Canada. “We are grateful to Loblaw for their long-standing partnership and commitment to our mission and our work of helping to keep local food bank shelves stocked and building capacity at the community food bank level to support their fresh food offering.”
The Loblaw Holiday Food Drive is in stores near you, from December 2 through December 24 (in Quebec, December 1 through December 31). Please consider donating these most-needed items:
- Monetary donations are by far the best donation you can make to your local food bank. Financial donations give food banks the flexibility to buy fresh perishables for their hampers or load up on items that are in short supply.
- Whole grain foods
- Whole grain foods like oatmeal, barley, high-fibre cereals or whole-grain pasta contain plenty of fibre and are an excellent source of minerals like magnesium and iron. Food banks with meal programs can also use them in their kitchens to create fresh meals for their clients.
- Lean proteins
- Foods like canned tuna and chicken; plant proteins like peanut butter, beans, and lentils; or proteins contained in other canned meats help in the maintenance of body tissue and contribute to a feeling of satiety. Nut butters are a favourite because they’re a versatile ingredient in snacks and meals.
- Canned fruit
- Canned fruit is high in vitamin C and dietary fibre. Likewise, frozen and canned vegetables free of added salt and sugars are often as good as fresh produce, studies suggest.
- Milk alternatives
- Shelf stable milk, powdered milk, almond milk and rice milk all contain vitamin D, vitamin A, and calcium.