A combination of rising food costs and a flood bills can make managing budgets this time of year, for many, a little more difficult than usual. Maple Leaf Foods wants to alleviate some of the pressure Canadian families are experiencing.
Through efforts that started on Family Day, Maple Leaf is giving 10,000 families across Canada $100 of free groceries, totalling nearly $100,000 in free groceries across the country!
Maple Leaf Feed it Forward
Not only is this a challenging time for individual families, but it’s also a difficult time for not-for-profit organizations that rely on donations. With this in mind, Maple Leaf is launching a Canada-wide Feed it Forward contest to help Canadians “Feed it Forward” and give back to the volunteers that have made a deep impact on their lives.
You are encouraged to tell Maple Leaf your heart-warming story of an organization or individual that has gone above-and-beyond to support their community or even yourself or your family.
Why Feed it Forward?
Food is a powerful means to build community and individual capacity. Whether it’s addressing the critical issue of hunger that affects 1 in 6 Canadian children or as a means to help people reach their potential, good food nourishes people in many ways.
Countless Canadians continue to volunteer and work tirelessly to help people lead better, healthier lives with good food. They are finding ways to help people eat well – and we want to support them. Let’s Feed it Forward to thank and recognize the people in our communities who have made a positive difference by feeding the potential of others.
How I Can Feed it Forward
Maple Leaf has empowered me to Feed it Forward and make a contribution to a local non-profit that makes a differences and I have selected the Strathcona Community Centre Association’s Food Security Program:
The Breakfast Program welcomes students of Lord Strathcona Elementary School every weekday morning before school and summer programs. It was started in the late 90’s by Linda Murota, a local parent who volunteered in the school cafeteria and observed how hungry some of the children were during the school day. How could they focus and participate in class with nothing in their stomachs? In the early days, Linda arranged to use the kitchen and room space at the community centre and ran the program as a volunteer cooking food using her personal funds. Over the years, the Breakfast Program has become an established healthy morning tradition that serves up to 150 breakfasts each day.
The program focuses on providing a healthy, balanced and varied meal in a friendly and social setting. It is made possible by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, led by Jane Newton-Moss, the Breakfast Program Coordinator. This team also includes an amazing group of elementary students who commit their early mornings as Breakfast Buddies to prepare and serve food for their classmates. Through their volunteer work at the Breakfast Program, the young students gain skills, self-confidence, and a sense of belonging.
I first learned about the program back in 2009 when I interviewed Recreation Programmer Ron Suzuki. At the time, Ron told me that the Food Security Program wasn’t so much about securing food for the children, it was about giving them access to HEALTHY food.
Once 3:00pm comes around, Ron says that “as many as 200-250 children are engaged in after-school activities that run until about 6:00pm.” During this after-school time, children tend to be hungry again so Canada Place’s funding also helps about 175 children with the “Healthy Snack” program.
Ron told me then that it’s truly a community effort as the youth (usually grade 6 or older) learn how to wash and prepare the snacks to serve to the younger ones. Donations support access to those who face challenges including limited and low income to health challenges and give opportunity for all to participate.
How You Can Feed it Forward
You can also make a difference by nominating someone in your community who is using food to make a positive difference in people’s lives. They could receive a $10,000 donation towards their organization and enjoy free Maple Leaf groceries for a year. And just by nominating them you could have the opportunity to receive free Maple Leaf groceries for a year.
Here’s how it works:
- As the nominee, you must volunteer with or work for a registered not-for-profit organization or community group (kids camp, community drop-in centre, school nutrition program, etc.) that uses food as a key component of supporting their program goals.
- The organization or community group must rely on donations for the majority of their operating costs. They cannot be registered businesses or for-profit companies.
- The organization must have a clearly defined strategy, vision or program for how it uses food to improve people’s lives through, but not limited to, nourishment and skill building (nutrition education, meals and food hamper delivery, cooking and food preparation skills, etc.)
- As the nominee, you must have a deep commitment to the organization based on either their years of service, contributions to advancing the organization’s food program or service delivery, commitment to go-above-and beyond to their defined roles and responsibilities.
You can make a huge difference not only for a local non-profit, but also for the lives it serves. Get your Feed it Forward nomination in by March 21, 2016 to participate. Follow Maple Leaf Foods on Twitter and Facebook for more information about this campaign.