food banks

A team that gives to food banks together, stays together

By SeaWestNews

 It was heartwarming to see our product on the shelves of the food bank freezers, ready to go out to support households in need. – Chris Read, Communications Manager, MarineHarvest Canada.

Thirteen percent of Canadians live in a state of food insecurity, which means they do not have reliable access to adequate amounts of safe and nutritious food. Food banks are an important method of addressing this need. According to Food Banks Canada, every month over 860,000 Canadians turn to their local food banks for help, which includes over 150,000 Canadians living in rural communities.

The people who visit food banks come from all backgrounds. They include families with children, employed people whose low wages do not cover basic living essentials, individuals on social assistance, and Canadians living on a fixed income, including seniors and people with disabilities.

Most food banks aim to distribute a balanced mix of healthy foods to encourage good nutrition. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins make up the bulk of the donations. This means there is an ongoing need for healthy, high-protein and nutritious foods like salmon, which is known for its many health benefits. Each five-ounce serving of cooked salmon has about 240 calories and provides as much as 70 percent of the daily protein needs for a person on a 2,000-calorie diet. Additionally, salmon is rich in heart-healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, and is free of carbohydrates.

Food banks depend on the community to donate healthy foods, as well as volunteers to help with everything from sorting to distribution. It is only through the kindness of people and businesses that keeps this valued service afloat.

This year, as in many years prior, The Marine Harvest Canada teams chose two of their communities to donate to this season:

  • Campbell RiverFood Bank serves people on limited income, hungry or in an emergency situation. The population served must live in the geographic region stretching from Oyster Bay to Sayward.
  • Port HardyFood boxes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at their location between noon and 1:00 pm every Friday(except the last Friday of each month and holidays). Original ID must be presented for each member of the household for every pick-up.

In addition to the donation of frozen ready-to-go salmon, both food banks also received donations direct from Marine Harvest staff. Items for donation were collected at the Campbell River and Port Hardy Christmas functions, and staff from both facilities were proud to be able to hand them over to the food banks personally.

Both food banks have freezer storage, and the ability of the Surrey processing plant to prepare 1-pound portions that are ready to go straight to the recipients means that the salmon can be donated into the food banks’ distribution networks.

Frozen skin pack fillets were produced in Surrey and shipped back to the Island in time for the food banks to prepare for their busiest week of the year.

Marine Harvest’s secondary fish processing plant on 152 Street in South Surrey is a sterile mega-operating room with strict bio-protocols that go into effect as soon as you step into the administrative quarter of the building. Since March 2016, Jason Swanson, Plant manager, has been planning and designing the Surrey plant, collating and putting into place best practices and technology from Europe.

“The fish harvested from the pens located in B.C.’s pristine ocean waters, go through primary processing in Port Hardy, after which they are transported here in special refrigerated trucks. They arrive between two to three days after being harvested,” said Swanson.

 “It was heartwarming to see our product on the shelves of the food bank freezers, ready to go out to support households in need,” said Chris Read, Communications Manager, Marine Harvest Canada.

Below are a few quotes from people directly involved with the Food bank of Campbell River:

“I am so very grateful that this service is here when I need it. Wonderful people volunteering, and really excellent healthy food. Thank you.”

“So wonderful that people contribute to the needs of other people, and give such a wide variety of help.”

“I remember volunteering for the Campbell River food bank, awesome people.”

“Many thanks to all who donated items and to those who took the time to visit the food banks to hand them over. Particular thanks to Jason Swanson and the team at Surrey for preparing the salmon for donation, and to Nadine Gibbs for marshalling the logistics of getting it delivered.”

Hunger does not take a vacation, the food banks of Canada are in need 365 days of the year, please continue to donate food, and your valuable time whenever possible.

For cash donations at any time of the year, please go here.

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