Mississauga ON (March 21, 2017) – Food Banks Canada today announced a landmark grant from the Walmart Foundation of $2.6 million, which joins a previous grant of $2 million to Food Banks Canada, to build capacity in the Canadian food bank network. For more than 30 years, food banks across the country have worked to address food insecurity in Canadian households; however, keeping pace with the growing need for services continues to strain resources. Today’s announcement demonstrates a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment by the Walmart Foundation to strengthen the food banking network’s ability to provide more food and specifically fresh food to Canadians in need by investing in vital infrastructure needed to recover and distribute good, safe surplus food to Canadian families in need.
Addressing food insecurity by providing quality, nutritious food to Canadians is a priority for Food Banks Canada, a national organization representing a network of 550 food bank partner organizations. Since 2011, Food Banks Canada has had a longstanding partnership with Walmart Canada, which includes monetary and food donations from the retailer both locally and nationally. The $4.6 million total funding from the Walmart Foundation directly supports capacity building efforts for food banks to acquire and share more food. The earlier $2 million grant is already supporting 159 food banks across Canada to provide operational support for retail food pick-up programs; education resources to improve safe food handling; and grants helping 50 local organizations to purchase equipment to expand cold chain capability to make fresh and perishable foods more accessible. These grants will help food banks acquire fridge and freezer units, trucks and vans, and other equipment and staffing resources to increase fresh food offerings while improving the storage and distribution of food.
“The Walmart Foundation is pleased to support Food Banks Canada to help build capacity with trucks, additional refrigerators and more space to get good, safe food to families in need,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer and President of the Walmart Foundation. “Investment in resources helps strengthen the charitable meal system, making it possible for food banks to accept more food from donors, whether from Walmart or any other business or organization that wants to relieve hunger in Canada.”
“Food banks are dynamic organizations that are continually evolving to address hunger in their communities, but they struggle to access enough resources to do the vital work they are called upon to,” said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “We are so grateful for the Walmart Foundation’s support, because it means many more food banks will have the tools and equipment to expand their services to meet the nutritional needs for the thousands of individuals being helped every day.”
Food Banks Canada’s HungerCount study reported that more than 860,000 men, women and children are helped by food banks each month, a 28 per cent increase since the 2008 economic downturn. The growing use of food banks means they struggle to access and share enough nutritious foods like produce, meat, dairy and non-perishable staples. Today’s announcement allows the food bank community to continue capacity building initiatives and enables food banks to increase their effectiveness in acquiring and sharing fresh foods.
“The grant from the Walmart Foundation has been transformational for our organization because it now means we can help more families with more food,” said Peter Sinclair, Executive Director, Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, Nanaimo, BC. “Being able to share foods like fruits and vegetables, milk and eggs in order to put healthy meals on the table makes all the difference for families living with hunger.”
To learn more about how the first investment of the Walmart Foundation’s funding is already at work in local communities please visit .
The investments in Food Banks Canada from the Walmart Foundation build on Walmart Canada’s commitment to reducing surplus food going to waste while addressing the serious issue of hunger in Canada. Walmart Canada is a longstanding partner of Food Banks Canada and has donated $2.3 million in monetary donations to the food bank community. Walmart Canada is also a founding partner of the national retail food program and has donated over 5 million pounds of food directly to local food banks. In 2016 Walmart Canada stores donated more than $31M worth of good safe food to local food banks.
About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada supports a unique network of over 3,000 food-related organizations in every province and territory that assists more than 860,000 Canadians each month. Together the network shares over 200 million pounds of essential safe quality food annually, provides social programs that help to foster self-sufficiency, and advocates for policy change that will help create a Canada where no one goes hungry. Visit foodbankscanada.ca for more information.