As the number of Canadians visiting food banks grows, a grocery store chain in the Maritimes is hoping the holiday season brings some relief and healthy food options for all.
In a recent report, HungerCount2021, Food Banks Canada says visits to food banks have increased by more than 20 per cent, with monthly visits reaching 1.3 million earlier this year. The report also shows almost 50,000 visits are being made by Maritimers to their local food banks every month and at least 3 in every 10 visits are to feed a child.
Atlantic Superstore’s annual Holiday Food Drive aims to raise food and funds for people that rely on food banks across the region. The fundraiser runs from Dec. 2 to Dec. 24 in all Atlantic Superstore, NoFrills and Your Independent Grocer locations across the Maritimes.
Each grocery store has partnered with food banks within their own community, with 100 per cent of proceeds and items collected going directly to their neighbours in need of support.
Donations to the Holiday Food Drive can be made in-store by either adding a cash donation to a customer’s bill at checkout and/or adding a few items to their cart, placing them in marked donation bins.
There are also pre-packaged paper bags that contain non-perishable food items like canned meats, fruits and vegetables that can be purchased for $5 or $10.
Feed Nova Scotia Director of Communications Karen Theriault is grateful for the compassion shown by the community during the COVID-91 pandemic.
“We’re looking at food insecurity with a different lens now,” she says. “We’re not looking at it as who fits that poverty definition, it’s just anyone who needs access to food should have access to food.
“We’re being reminded more and more during this crisis that food is basic human need, a basic human right and we’re doing all we can to provide it without asking the question why they deserve it.”
Registered dietician Ellen Doyle says Holiday Food Drive donors should think about food items they would feed their own families when shopping for items to donate. Doyle recommends looking for non-perishable canned meats, fruits and vegetables that are high in protein, with no added sugars or salt and choose products made with whole grain flour instead of white refined flour.
“Whole grains are a great source of magnesium and iron,” Doyle adds. “They’re also really high in fibres so they’re going to fill us up and keep us feeling full for longer.”
Doyle adds that shelf-stable dairy can provide vitamin D and calcium and canned meats, beans and lentils offer protein at an economical cost to Holiday Food Drive donors. Household necessities like bathroom tissue, diapers and personal hygiene products can also be donated to this fundraiser.
Global News is a proud supporter of the Holiday Food Drive. For more information on how you can support a food bank in your community, visit the Global News event page.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.