Farm Credit Canada (FCC) plans to contribute $100,000 this year to school meal programs across Canada, as part of its annual Drive Away Hunger campaign.
Over the course of the coming months, 100 communities will receive a $1,000 cheque and a donation of food. Jeff Affleck, senior district director for Farm Credit Canada, said communities are chosen based on feedback from the FCC offices within the communities, as well as through an application process by the communities themselves.
"They share a bit about the need for it in their areas and then we try to help as many as we can," he said.
This year marks the 15th year for the program. In addition to the cheque presentation, Affleck said representatives from FCC will go into schools and talk to the children about where their food comes from.
"It's not just writing a cheque and high-fiving them on our way out the door, we get to spend a bit of time with the kids and talk about what we do," he said.
On Thurday, a cheque presentation was made in the community of Carrot River. The money will be use to assist the community with their Blessings in a Backpack program. On Fridays, pre-selected children in the community are provided with a backpack. Program Chairperson Bridget Homen said the backpacks contain food such as juice boxes, a supper, and snacks, to help them get through the weekend.
"We don't have any kind of food bank program in our community but we did recognize there was some kind of need in the community so that's where we shared blessings," she said.
Homen said they have had anywhere from seven to 15 kids on any given Friday receiving a backpack. The children have in the past been identified at the school level, or parents can apply for support.
"It's a huge deal to get that money [from FCC] because it means we can continue supporting those families," she said.
Homen said while the program was food-based when they started, they have evolved the program to include school supplies and even money so the children can pay for school photos.
Starting early next month, Farm Credit Canada tractor tours will make stops across the country including some in Saskatchewan in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Humboldt and Yorkton. They'll be collecting food and cash donations for the food banks. People can also make a donation at any FCC office until October 18.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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