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Apr 6

Drive Away Hunger aims high for 10th anniversary

Posted on Apr 6 By: Tyler Difley

Many rural food banks are volunteer-run and depend on food drives like Drive Away Hunger to raise awareness and stock their shelves. Credit: Farm Credit Canada
Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) Drive Away Hunger initiative is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Expectations are higher than ever for the program, which has raked in 9.2 million pounds of food and more than $760,000 to date for Canadian food banks.

“Drive Away Hunger is our flagship community investment program,” said Blaine Gorrell, FCC’s Lethbridge district director. “We saw the opportunity— hunger is a huge issue in Canada and in rural Canada—so working with the food banks just seemed to make sense.”

In the spirit of the anniversary, FCC has set an impressive collection goal for the program: a whopping five million pounds of food.

“Basically, we’re going to try to do in one year 50 per cent of what we’ve accomplished over the past 10 years,” said Gorrell. “It is very important to FCC that we make a contribution, that we’re involved with the communities and that we’re helping out where we can.”

Gorrell said Drive Away Hunger was inspired by the goodwill of a single FCC employee. In 2004, the employee decided to drive a tractor through parts of Ontario on an eight-day tour collecting food donations, eventually raising 60,000 pounds of food for the food bank.

“It went from that individual initiative to become a corporate FCC initiative,” said Gorrell. “It was a good fit for what we were trying to do and what we are trying to accomplish as a company.”

In the spirit of the inaugural campaign, FCC holds tractor tours across Canada every year to close out the Drive Away Hunger food collection period. This year, Alberta tractor tours will be collecting food in the communities surrounding Lethbridge, Brooks and Medicine Hat during the week of Oct. 14.

“It’s really an awareness piece that we do, kind of the culmination of the whole activity,” said Gorrell.

According to statistics from Food Banks Canada, 882,188 Canadians accessed a food bank in March 2012. In that same month, 53,512 Albertans turned to food banks and 44 per cent of those were children.

Stephanie Walsh, executive director of Alberta Food Banks, said programs like Drive Away Hunger are vital for raising awareness about hunger and making sure food banks are properly supplied to meet the needs of their users.
“Food banks across the country, regardless of their size, rely on periodic food drives to keep their shelves stocked,” said Walsh.

“Whether you’re Calgary or Edmonton-sized, or you’re a very small food bank in Taber, you really do rely on your community partners, stakeholders and corporate partners to help rally the community to contribute food.

”We’re just extremely grateful for organizations and companies like FCC who take it upon themselves to actively work to ensure there’s food available for those who will need it.”

If you would like to contribute to the campaign, FCC is accepting cash and food donations at all of their office locations until Oct. 18. For more information or to make a donation, call (888) 332-3301 or visit their website at www. fcc-fac.ca/en/AboutUs/Responsibility/ driveawayhunger.

FOOD BANKS CANADA NEEDS:

  • Pasta products, sauce and rice
  • Canned meat and fish
  • Dry and canned soups, stews
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Breakfast cereal and peanut butter
  • Canned or powdered milk, juices
  • Beans and legumes
  • Infant formula and baby food

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