Widespread food insecurity is one of many devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starbucks Canada and the Starbucks Foundation have announced today that they will be donating over $1 million in food and funds to support vulnerable Canadians.
Food donations from Starbucks distribution centres will be divided amongst food banks across Canada, including Montreal’s Moisson Food Bank, Second Harvest in Toronto, Calgary Food Bank and Inn From the Cold Calgary, along with Surrey Food Bank and Maple Ridge Food Bank in Vancouver.
Additionally, some monetary funds will go directly to Canadian organizations. Food Banks Canada will receive $280,000 for their COVID-19 Response Fund; $70,000 will go to the Emergency Relief Fund at Second Harvest and $20,000 will be donated to Starbucks Canada’s existing youth-focused social agency partners, Yonge Street Mission in Toronto and Woods Homes in Calgary.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, job losses and financial instability are on the rise. Understandably, the demand on food banks is increasing. According to Food Banks Canada, there were 1.1 million visits to food banks each month last year. In the past two weeks, there has been a 20 percent increase in visits.
“Many of the agencies we deliver to have had to shut their doors because they’re run by volunteers,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, in a statement. “A lot of seniors support non-profits and they’re our most compromised category of people — so we’ve had to change our system.”
Starbucks’ donations will help food banks transition operations to comply with new safety measures by providing drivers from Starbucks’ foodservice distributor, Gordon Food Service to deliver food. They have also been providing free coffee for first responders since March 26.
Anyone interested in contributing to relief efforts can visit the Starbucks donation page on the Food Banks Canada website or find a link through the Starbucks app.
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