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In times of turmoil and trouble, iconic children’s show host, Mr. Rogers, urged his young viewers to, “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people helping.” The past year has put a spotlight on those in the grocery industry who rose to meet unprecedented challenges, but this is nothing new. Western Canadian food and beverage producers, along with retailers, have long been choosing to be the helpers in places where they were needed most.
The grocery industry has often played a unique role in the fight against hunger and ensuring food security for
thousands of Western Canadians. According to nonprofit Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), before the pandemic, an estimated 4.5 million Canadians experienced food insecurity, while the Grocery Foundation cites that, before COVID-19, one in five Canadian children went to school hungry.
One of the foundation’s key initiatives is Toonie’s for Tummies, where shoppers simply donate $2 at participating grocery retailers, with 100 per cent of the funds going directly to school breakfast programs. From 2017- 2020, Western Canadian retailers helped fund more than 740,000 breakfasts across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The 2021 campaign, dubbed #ToonieChallenge2X, is more vital than ever, as twice as many children may be at risk of food insecurity due to the pandemic.
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