FCC program combats rural hunger

Farm Credit Canada’s Drive Away Hunger campaign is a national effort to support food banks and school meal programs

This fall, students at Green Valley School in Grunthal, Man., collected more than 3,200 kilograms of food for local foods banks.

That works out to 6.4 kg of food for each student at the middle and high school in southeastern Manitoba.

The donated food is part of Farm Credit Canada’s Drive Away Hunger campaign, a national effort to support food banks and school meal programs across the country. The campaign begins in September and lasted this year until Oct. 18.

“Thanks to more than 279 industry and community partners — and 409 schools — FCC Drive Away Hunger collected a record 7.28 million meals for Canadians in need last year,” the FCC website says. “That makes a grand total of 40 million meals in 14 years.”

In October, two teams of FCC employees from Steinbach, Man., travelled to about nine schools in the region collecting donated food with a truck and trailer.

They were hoping to top the total from 2017, when schoolchildren and FCC employees collected about 70,000 meals for food banks in southeastern Manitoba.

“It’s a total team effort.… We’re all committed to cause,” said Wade Nerbas, who works at the FCC office in Steinbach, Man.

A large portion of the donated food goes to the Helping Hands food bank in Steinbach, the largest community in the region.

“They’re feeding roughly 400 families,” Nerbas said. “You don’t think of it (hunger) in rural Canada, but it’s still a need.”

On a Wednesday in October, Helping Hands’ volunteers were busy with food from the FCC campaign. They unloaded and sorted Kraft Dinner, canned peaches and crackers, stored within dozens of FCC paper bags and reusable bags.

“It keeps them (Helping Hands) going to the point where they can spend their time and energy someplace else, rather than trying to find donations,” Nerbas said.

FCC has operated its Drive Away Hunger campaign for 15 years.

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