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From the Editor: Poultry groups step up for vulnerable

Challenging times bring out the best in poultry producers.


July 14, 2020
By Brett Ruffell


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I’ve always found that challenging times bring out the best in people. I’m seeing that on display again in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, two national poultry groups stepped up to help the vulnerable with a combined $45,000 commitment to support food banks.

Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) announced a $25,000 donation to Food Banks Canada while Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) made a $20,000 donation to the Ottawa Food Bank.

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Both charities issued calls for help to ensure vulnerable Canadians continue to receive vital support and nutritious food during these unprecedented times. Chicken and egg farmers responded to the call.

“Food Banks Canada and their dedicated team of staff and volunteers play a critical role in our communities,” EFC chair Roger Pelissero says.

“We know these are challenging times for all Canadians, with the most vulnerable communities impacted the most. We believe it is crucial now more than ever to rally around our friends, neighbours and fellow Canadians with our support.”

“These are incredibly challenging times for all Canadians,” CFC chair Benoît Fontaine adds. “We wanted to answer the call for help and pledge our support, in a meaningful way, to the city and region that our staff call home.”

In light of COVID-19, food banks across the country have reported an increase in demand. At the same time, they’re facing drastic declines in the number of volunteers and have to adapt their operations to the pandemic.

The poultry groups’ donations will support food banks’ wide-reaching efforts as they continue to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CFC has partnered with and supported the Ottawa Food Bank since 2007. Through the Chicken Challenge Program – which secures product donations from a Canadian processor – as well as through staff donations and other programming, CFC says its contributions to the food bank have totaled $600,000.

Egg farmers are also long-time supporters of food banks. In fact, EFC and Food Banks Canada have been partners for more than two decades. Each year, Canadian farmers donate over one million eggs to community food banks.

In 2018, for example, egg farmers donated 1.4 million eggs to food banks across Canada. In 2019, they donated 1.8 million eggs. Many provincial and territorial egg boards also have partnerships with local food banks and make additional egg donations.

Clearly, the charities appreciate the assistance.

“We are beyond grateful to have the continued support of CFC,” says Michael Maidment, CEO, Ottawa Food Bank. “This gift is incredibly generous, and we are touched that they are thinking of our community during a time of such uncertainty. This gesture is on top of the already substantial donation of chicken we regularly receive from the chicken farmers.”

Food Banks Canada expressed similar sentiment.

“Providing food to those in need can be difficult at the best of times. With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, we are anticipating record numbers of people who will require our help,” says Chris Hatch, the charity’s chief executive officer. “Contributions such as the one made by Egg Farmers of Canada will help ensure that food banks can continue their critical work.”

It was also inspiring to see stories on social media of individual producers and poultry and egg companies supporting their communities in various ways in response to COVID-19. How has your business responded? I’m interested in hearing about how the pandemic has affected your operations and anything you’ve done to support your community. Email me at bruffell@annexbusinessmedia.com.

Canadians living with food insecurity need support now more than ever. To give back to the community during this time, visit foodbankscanada.ca to donate and lend your support to Canada’s food banks.


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