B.C. food banks to model food recovery programs after Kamloops'

By Jill Sperling
March 27, 2017 - 12:00pm Updated: March 27, 2017 - 5:31pm

KAMLOOPS — Food banks across B.C. are getting a funding boost from the province.

Last week an investment of $24 million to support low-income families was announced. $10 million will be used to help food banks receive and distribute food to families in need, something Kamloops has been able to do well through its foodSHARE program.

WATCH: Full report by Jill Sperling

The Kamloops Food Bank has been running the successful food recovery program for 10 years, saving more than 8 million pounds of perishable food items from the landfill.

"It's absolutely stunning what we get here to distribute to our clients, and we get so much product that we're able to give it to 7,000 individuals here on site once a week, so no other food bank can say that," said Executive Director Bernadette Siracky.

Local businesses donate food that they are no longer able to sell, the food bank then distributes that food to community agencies and people in need. Anything not quite up to human standards is distributed to farmers to feed their animals. 

The Kamloops Food Bank in one of only three food banks in B.C. with a food recovery program. Nanaimo and Revelstoke modeled their programs after the Kamloops foodSHARE program.

"We would love to get this going as a province, because food waste is really on people's radars in a way that it's never been before," Siracky said. "People understand how much product is going to the landfill, it's unnecessary when it can go to people." 

With the $10 million investment from the province more food banks across B.C. will be able to implement the program, with the Kamloops foodSHARE program once again serving as the model.

"We have been in touch with Food Banks BC, we're going to be an active part of their planning, because we have such a strong program here," Siracky said. "So we're able to model for other smaller food banks, and larger ones actually, in our province how to operate a food recovery program."

Food Banks BC is investing $6.5 million into transportation of food, and $3.5 million into refrigeration.

"We're not using (the funding) to go and buy bread that's going to last for that one time only," Siracky said, "we're using this as a province to increase the capacity of food banks so that they have the infrastructure required to make sustainable programming possible."

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