Although there appears to be some semblance of light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, the hardships brought on by the pandemic continue to challenge vulnerable individuals and the brave frontline workers who have been supporting them.
Before the pandemic, Food Banks Canada estimated that one in eight Canadians relied on food banks for regular meals. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, however, they estimate food bank usage has increased by as much as 50 per cent.
Thankfully, Canada is home to a multitude of hospitality heavyweights who, despite being among the hardest hit industries in the country, haven’t stopped using what remaining resources they have to make the fight against COVID-19 a little easier for us all.
Here are some of the ways Canada's food community is giving back during the pandemic.
Campari Canada has been busy giving back since the start of the pandemic. The premium spirits company’s #ShakenNotBroken initiative has provided meals, sanitizer, and over $85,000 in funds for those who needed it most.
Campari also recently announced a donation of $50,000 to the Bartenders Benevolent Fund to support bartenders and other hospitality employees who have fallen into hardship due to COVID-19.
Kraft Heinz Canada
Kraft Heinz Canada recently launched the Kraft Heinz Project Pantry initiative in an effort to provide Food Banks Canada with personal protective equipment and one million meals for frontline food bank workers across the country.
The Kraft Heinz Company has also committed $12 million to support other food banks around the world in communities that are affected by the pandemic.
General Mills Canada
General Mills has repurposed the advertising space originally intended for Cheerios’ campaigns for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to support Food Banks Canada. The Cheer for the Food Banks Frontline campaign includes a $500,000 cash donation from Cheerios, as well as $600,000 worth of food products from General Mills.
The campaign also includes a series of limited edition Cheerios boxes that each feature a photo of a different food bank worker.
GoodFood recently launched a campaign to support the Breakfast Club of Canada COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The Montreal-based food delivery service matched donations up to $10,000 and were able to raise over $50,000 in total. GoodFood also partnered with the University of Montreal Health Centre Foundation in April to supply medical personnel and volunteers with ready-to-eat meals throughout the month.
Collective Arts Brewing
After having already donated almost $30,000 to hospitality and community non-profits, Collective Arts Brewing is getting set to launch the More initiative to assist local charities while creating paid production opportunities for artists.
The project will be funded through the sales of limited-edition beers and merchandise collaborations with local artists. The first collaboration features t-shirts and tote bags from Montreal artist, Melanie Mascle.
Artists and not-for-profits can submit for funding through the Collective Arts website.
Novolex--a Canadian company that develops and manufactures packaging and food service products--began converting its food grade packaging lines in March to make personal protective equipment. Novolex has since committed to producing more than two million medical face shields and more than six million isolation gowns for use by Health Canada.
Len Thompson Lures
Lacombe-based Len Thompson Lures recently launched the Fishing For Food Banks 2020 campaign to support western Canadian food banks. The campaign features six limited edition lures, from which Len Thompson will donate 50 per cent of sales toward smaller food banks in western Canada. So far, the campaign has sold 1,200 lures and expect to reach $10,000 in donations by the end of the summer.
La Prep has been providing 200 complimentary meals, one day per week, to frontline healthcare workers at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The bistro-style quick-service restaurant chain has also launched the #HealthcareHero campaign, which gives donors an opportunity to contribute meals to Oakville Trafalgar and other hospitals around the country.