April 26, 2022 - CALGARY – Calgary Co-op continues to evolve and expand its efforts to support the community in meaningful ways, including the launch of The Calgary Co-op Fresh Food Rescue Program, in collaboration with the Calgary Food Bank’s Fresh Tote Food Rescue.
The Fresh Food Rescue Program is in addition to the $3 million being committed by Calgary Co-op to address food security and support vulnerable populations in 2022. In just a few short months since launching as a pilot program, Calgary Co-op has provided more than 260,000 pounds of fresh food, with a quality and usability rate of 98 per cent. To date, more than 16,000 individuals have been positively impacted by this program through fresh food hampers built and distributed by the Calgary Food Bank.
Five days a week, Calgary Co-op team members carefully select and pack a range of food items that are still perfectly fresh and safe for consumption but are nearing their best before dates. Items include fresh produce, dairy, frozen food, bakery and deli products, meat, and non-perishable grocery items. Product is picked up from the stores five days a week by the Calgary Food Bank, promptly transported to their facility, then placed into emergency hampers and delivered to clients that same day.
Today, the program is active in all 24 of Calgary Co-op’s food stores in Calgary and area, including working with Food Banks in Airdrie, High River and Strathmore.
Says Ken Keelor, CEO of Calgary Co-op, “Teamwork is at the core of everything we do, and this new program is another way our team members can contribute to the community in meaningful ways. By safely selecting and transporting items that are fresh but nearing their best before dates, we are helping to provide fresh, quality food items to food bank clients, while also reducing food waste.”
Previously, fresh food waste was composted or recycled, contributing to more than 6,000 tonnes of waste annually. Now only items that are out of date, overripe or damaged go to the landfill, further reducing in-store food waste.
Says James McAra, President and CEO of the Calgary Food Bank, “Providing our clients with a variety of food items is vital for their health and wellness. Thanks to the incredible support of Calgary Co-op, we are enhancing our hampers with fresh food items, providing individuals and families with more selection to prepare quality meals.”
Calgary Co-op, together with the generosity of its members donated a record $2.7 million in food and funds towards improving food security in 2021, working with several organizations including Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, Calgary Food Bank, Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Meals on Wheels and Mustard Seed.
An overview of Calgary Co-op’s many environmental, social and governance initiatives can be viewed here: https://www.calgarycoop.com/better-together/
For those wishing to support the efforts of Calgary Co-op, donations of any size can be made online to any of Calgary Co-op’s charity partners.