FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John branch of the Salvation Army launched a new program on Wednesday that will help more individuals seeking help to get the food they need.
Salvation Army executive director Cameron Eggie said that the organization recently received a $9,000 grant from Foodbanks BC to launch the perishable food recovery program. With the grant, the Salvation Army was able to purchase two refrigeration units, as well as wheeled collection bins that volunteers use to collect food from local grocery stores that might otherwise end up in the dumpster.
Eggie explained that Amanda’s No Frills, Safeway, and Save-On-Foods have all partnered with the Salvation Army, and upon doing inventory each day the stores will put food inside the bins that is still fit for human consumption but is close to its ‘Best Before’ date and is unable to be sold. He said that during the morning, volunteers will be collecting the donations in order to give them out at the Salvation Army food bank on 100th Ave.
The Salvation Army has previously received donations of bread and other non-perishables, but was able to expand the program to perishables this morning.
“This morning, for example, we picked up eggs, yogurt, and milk and we’re giving out to folks all morning through the food bank,” said Eggie. “Everything that we’re getting is just before its ‘Best Before’ date. Stores usually pull a day or two before. No one’s getting anything foul or spoiled, its all still very fresh but unsellable from a retail perspective.”
Eggie said that the program has started small, but that he foresees expanding in the near future, provided the organization can get more volunteers.
“The logistics of driving each morning, picking up these items, and then sorting and distributing them is quite a sophisticated process.”
He added that the organization is also working with local farmers to give any foods that are not able to be donated, so that animals and compost recyclers can also make use of them.