More than $327,000 donated to community food banks and Food Banks Canada

AURORA, ON, July 10 - Desjardins Insurance and its Agent network have joined forces to support local community food banks across Canada, which face new challenges from COVID-19, including shrinking food donations.

Desjardins Insurance has matched financial donations up to $1,000 made to community food banks by local Desjardins Agents in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. All told, 128 Desjardins Agents participated in the program, resulting in a combined $227,730 in donations to 77 community food banks.

In addition, Desjardins Insurance is donating another $100,000 to Food Banks Canada, a national charitable organization that supports food banks and agencies at the community level, bringing the total donation to $327,730.

"Local food banks have always been critically important to many communities across the country, but they are even more so now with the impacts we see on employment and the financial hardships many people are facing," said Benaaz Irani, Vice-President of the Desjardins Agent Network. "Our local Desjardins Agents live and work in the communities they serve, and they know first-hand what their clients and communities are going through and the strain COVID-19 is putting on their local food banks."

According to Food Banks Canada, Canadians made over 1.1 million visits to food banks every month in 2019, a number that could increase significantly over the coming months with much of the Canadian economy shut down because of COVID-19.

At the same time, traditional food collection methods have been disrupted because of social distancing and significant declines in food donations.

"With COVID-19, providing food to those in need got a whole lot more difficult, but this donation from Desjardins Insurance will help us to meet that challenge," said Chris Hatch, Food Banks Canada Chief Executive Officer. "This contribution will help us support more than 3,000 community organizations who are helping Canadians every day."

Desjardins Agents drove this project, taking the initiative to support their local food banks before Desjardins Insurance announced the matching funds.

"I'm so proud of what they've done, of how they've stepped up for their communities in this time of need," said Irani. "Desjardins Insurance was very happy to support their efforts."

This is the third consecutive year that Desjardins Insurance and the exclusive Desjardins Agent Network have teamed up to support Canadian communities. In 2019, more than $270,000 was given to community initiatives in the three provinces where Desjardins Insurance Agent offices are located.

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada provides national leadership to relieve hunger today and prevent hunger tomorrow in collaboration with the food bank network from coast-to-coast-to-coast. For 40 years, food banks have been dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity. Over 3,000 food banks and community agencies come together to serve our most vulnerable neighbours who - last year - made 1.1 million visits to these organizations in one month alone, according to our HungerCount report. Over the past 10 years, as a system we've sourced and shared over 1.4 billion pounds of food and Food Banks Canada shared nearly $70 million in funding to help maximize collective impact and strengthen local capacity - while advocating for reducing the need for food banks. Our vision is clear: create a Canada where no one goes hungry. Visit http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/ to learn more.

For journalists only: Joe Daly, Public Relations, Desjardins Group
416-528-6920 / 1-877-306-5252, ext. 5515305
joe.daly@dgig.ca