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Record Setting Food and Fund Drive on Canada's Ag Day

KITCHENER – Pork producers joined Ontario Pork staff to celebrate Canada’s Agriculture Dayat the Kitchener Rangers game on Tuesday, February 13. On the ice the Rangers defeated the Guelph Storm 4-3, but it was off the ice where the biggest win happened, with a record-setting food and fund drive to help restock food bank shelves. 

"The Food Bank of Waterloo Region was the real winner," said Ontario Pork Board Chair John de Bruyn. "With help from the community we were able to do a great job collecting cash and food donations that will really go a long way to help those facing food insecurity."  

In total 1,071 pounds of food was collected, along with $4,643.90 in cash donations. The food and funds collected will go to The Food Bank of Waterloo Regionand will provide 10,125 meals to those in need.  

“Seeing the food donation bins overflow, seeing people make financial donations, it really warms my heart." said Kim Wilhelm, CEO at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. "We often think about donating at the holidays, but the reality is food insecurity happens 365 days a year, so all year-round events like these are important to help remember the more than 58,000 people living right here in Waterloo Region who are struggling to put food on the table."  

This food and fund drive is the second of the season the Rangers have held at the Kitchener Auditorium. In December the food and funds collected resulted in 8,567 meals. The 10,125 meals that will be provided from the Canada's Ag Day event, is a new season record. Organizers are hopeful this will encourage other organizations to take up the food drive challenge. 

"This is an initiative that we would love to continue to do with Ontario Pork," said Sawyer Hume, Ticketing and Sponsorship Coordinator for the Kitchener Rangers. "With this success, if there are any other organizations that want to compete with Ontario Pork a little bit to see if they can get the donations up near the same level, we would very much welcome that positive competition.”   

Fans at the game were also able to purchase copies of the Ontario Pork book The Whole Hog. The book features recipes, stories, and tips on how to cook pork that come directly from people who work across the pork supply chain.  All proceeds from its sale will go to Feed Ontario. 

"Our partnership with Ontario Pork really means the world to us," said Feed Ontario’s Director of Development & Partnerships, Stephanie Ashton-Smith. "2023 was really the toughest year that food banks have faced, it's almost at crisis levels and we expect that to worsen in 2024. So, any opportunity to have events like this to bring the community together and to raise awareness of food insecurity is really crucial."      

The creation of this food drive initiative is a testament to Ontario Pork's ongoing commitment to its social responsibility, which is to build strong communities and people. For 11 years Ontario Pork and industry partners have proudly supported Feed Ontario and its network of 1,200 food banks and hunger-relief organizations. The Friends of the Food Bank program has delivered over 1.1 million servings of pork to food banks across the province.   

Ontario Pork is hopeful the awareness and the coverage that this event provided will be just as impactful as the donations, and that it inspires other communities across the province to think about helping their fellow neighbours. 

Source : Ontario Pork

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