A grocery store giant has launched a campaign to stock the shelves at local food banks this spring.
Loblaw Companies Limited and its banner stores kicked off the 2012 Extra Helping Spring National Food Drive to help combat hunger April 19. They will continue to collect non-perishable food items as well as funds until May 5.
On the home front, the Windsor Superstore will donate what they collect and raise to the Matthew 25 Windsor and District Food Bank. Hantsport's Save Easy will donate everything it raises to the Hantsport and Area Food Bank.
Although people often associate Christmastime with supporting the food bank, those involved with doling out food year-round say the need doesn't go away when the snow melts.
“While most people savour the joys of spring, many others are consumed with the daily struggle and worry of where their next meal will come from. For thousands of Nova Scotians, the ability to access support from a local food bank literally means the difference between whether they eat or not,” said Dianne Swinemar, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia in a press release.
“With the help of programs like the Loblaw 2012 Extra Helping Spring National Food Drive, we can help make sure the shelves and refrigerators of food banks across the province are well stocked the next time someone reaches out for help.”
Cindy Loane, the co-ordinator of the Matthew 25 Windsor and District Food Bank, said no donation is too small.
“What is the need? Everything. We need groceries and we are also constantly trying to raise money to pay the rent and the phones and the security. That costs us, on average, $1,500 a month,” said Loane.
“While most people savour the joys of spring, many others are consumed with the daily struggle and worry of where their next meal will come from. For thousands of Nova Scotians, the ability to access support from a local food bank literally means the difference between whether they eat or not." - Dianne Swinemar
From canned goods like beans and peas, to grains like pasta and cereal, to school supplies, like juice boxes and granola bars, Loane said they could put the items to good use.
The clientele base is growing, Loane said, as more and more people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
"We're hearing that it's costing more to get to work because of the price of gas,” said Loane, pointing out that the higher fuel prices mean people have less to spend on necessities like groceries.
“Other people, what we would call the working poor, are two working parents in a home but they both make minimum wage with no medical or any kind of compensation with their jobs,” said Loane. “If one of their children gets sick, if they need a puffer, there's $125. That's usually their grocery money.”
One hundred per cent of the food that is donated, and 85 per cent of the cash, will be donated to local food banks across the province. The remaining 15 per cent of donated cash will go to Feed Nova Scotia in support of provincial food bank programs.
Nationally, Loblaw’s goal is to raise $1.2 million and collect 1.2 million pounds of food in 2012.
A second national food drive is scheduled for December 2012.