Greater Victoria grocers join forces to end hunger

Island Food Caring campaign raises over $35,000 for Food Rescue Project

“It takes a community to feed a community – and our customers answered the call.”

That’s the sentiment Fairway Market vice-president Robert Jay has repeated throughout the Island Food Caring project, which, between five grocery store operators, has raised $18,847 to support food security in the region.

The sum raised by local grocers was matched by the Victoria Foundation, bringing the total to $37,693 for the Food Share Network’s Food Rescue project, an initiative that recovers and redistributes healthy, fresh food to communities in need across Greater Victoria.

READ ALSO: $3M grant to bolster food security for Victorians living in poverty

Between June 1 and 23, Country Grocer, Fairway Market, Red Barn Market, the Root Cellar and Thrifty Foods participated by providing donation bins at the till and running in-store and online promotions.

“We are thrilled with the response of our customers donating at the tills to support the Food Rescue Project,” Jay remarked in a media statement.

Russ Benwell, co-owner of Red Barn Market, was impressed at how grocers came together to support a vital cause.

“Fifty-thousand of our neighbours don’t know where their next meal is coming from and that is unacceptable,” Benwell said. “In this campaign, the grocery stores put aside competition for something greater, a food-secure region where no one goes hungry.

“We asked our customers to join us in taking the next step with us, and together with Victoria Foundation’s match, we’ve raised $37,693. This is only the beginning, as all the participating grocery stores have signed on to make this an annual campaign and will continue to raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity throughout the year.”

READ ALSO: Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

According to Matthew Kemshaw, chair of the Food Share Network, more than 50 organizations are participating in the project, “helping to feed 35,000 people from Port Renfrew to Mayne Island, from Esquimalt to Oak Bay.”

“We still have a further 15,000 people to reach, to ensure that everyone has access to fresh and healthy foods on the South Island,” Kemshaw stated, adding the Food Rescue Project has seen grocers and customers join an important effort to end regional hunger.

“This campaign is a testament to the work that continues to address food insecurity in our region,” he said.

Donations to the Food Rescue Project can still be made at islandfoodcaring.ca.

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