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Rotarians for Food Rescue

Victoria, B.C., May 14, 2015 – A new collaboration that sees the Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria join with the Victoria Foundation and the 11 local Thrifty Foods grocery stores will bring one enormous food rescue project to life. Lorna Curtis, Rotary Assistant Governor, along with Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson and Thrifty Foods Senior Director Retail Operations Ralf Mundel, as well as Brenda Bolton, Food Share Network Coordinator, and Colin Tessier, Executive Director from Mustard Seed gathered at Thrifty Foods Cloverdale Thursday to formally announce the partnership and explain the raffle fundraiser that will serve as their first step.

“Our aim is to provide funding for a major food recovery system that will see perishable food items move from grocery stores and other sources to the vulnerable populations in the CRD through the Food Share Network” said Curtis. “If we succeed, this same system could be implemented in other communities, and we know the need is there.”

“The Victoria Foundation has been working with local food organizations to identify gaps in the current system and find solutions,” said Richardson. “No one group can do this alone.  We believe in collaboration to ensure that everyone in our community has access to affordable and nutritious food.”

“Food waste is painful for everyone,” said Mundel. “We’ve all known that pain – whether it’s tossing out a spoiled head of lettuce at home and regretting the waste, or when we remove a slightly damaged but still edible piece of fruit from the shelf at work. And we know, as a community, that we can do better.”

The first step in setting up Rotarians for Food Rescue is to raise the necessary funds for transportation and storage infrastructure – the most challenging aspect of any solution involving perishable foods. The Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria are selling raffle tickets ($5 each, or 3 for $10) toward the grand prize draw of a brand new 2015 Nissan Rogue. Tickets are available online at www.rotaryraffle.ca as well as through a mobile ticket booth that will travel throughout the CRD from now until the grand prize draw on August 9, 2015.

With a fundraising target of $100,000 and a commitment of match funds from the Victoria Foundation, local organizations are poised to change the fate of fresh fruits and vegetables that currently end up in compost.  The Food Share Network, a collaborative effort between agencies seeking to address food insecurity in the Greater Victoria Region, will divert perishables to a member agency that can immediately redirect the food to a food insecure family or individual.

“We currently see a significant lack of quality fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins in the system for families and individuals who are experiencing food insecurity in the CRD,” said Mustard Seed Executive Director Colin Tessier, “This project will significantly increase healthy food options, and the frequency with which people can access support, all leading to improved health outcomes and quality of life for thousands of people each month.”

The trick is to move the fresh produce quickly enough – while maintaining food-safe refrigeration levels at all points of travel and storage – so that it can be used safely and responsibly, rather than go to waste. For the diversion of perishable foods to be successful, the produce will have to be collected daily and incorporated into the Food Share Network distribution system across the CRD.

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About Rotary

A volunteer organization with approximately 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs around the world. Rotary is a leadership organization made up of local business, professional and civic leaders that meet regularly, form friendships, network and mentor and actively participate in or provide funds for local community and international projects. With about 450 members, the Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria include current and past CEOs and executives of many well-known organizations. (www.rotaryvictoria.org)

About the Victoria Foundation

Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the fifth largest of nearly 200 across the nation. It manages charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds. The proceeds from these funds are then distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. To date, it has invested more than $143 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities in B.C. and throughout Canada. (www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca)

About Thrifty Foods

Founded in 1977 in Victoria, BC. Today, Thrifty Foods, a banner of Sobeys Inc., has a total of 26 retail grocery stores across the Lower Mainland, throughout Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island. (www.thriftyfoods.com)

About Sobeys Inc.

Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians for 107 years. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX:EMP.A), Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton's Drug Stores as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations. Sobeys and its franchise affiliates employ more than 125,000 people. The company's purpose is to help Canadians Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better. More information on Sobeys Inc. can be found at www.sobeyscorporate.com.

About the Food Share Network

The Food Share Network (FSN) is a collaborative endeavor launched in 2014 with over 40 key stakeholder groups and food security organizations in the Greater Victoria Area.  The integrative approach seeks to enhance food security in the Capital Region through cooperation among food banks, community centres, donors and other participating organizations.  Through collaboration, the FSN is using limited resources in an efficient manner and minimizing the number of asks to food donors.  Please contact the Food Share Network Coordinator, Brenda Bolton at (250)818-3639 with any questions or comments.

For more information, please contact:                             

Lorna Curtis
Rotary Assistant Governor
Tel: (778)-967-1556
lornamaycurtis@gmail.com

Erin Coulson
Manager, Communications
Thrifty Foods
Tel: (250) 483-1659   Cell: (250) 216-7007
ecoulson@thriftyfoods.com

Sandra Richardson, CEO
Victoria Foundation
Tel: (250) 381-5532
sandra@victoriafoundation.bc.ca

Brenda Bolton
Food Share Network Coordinator
Tel:  (250) 818-3639
Brenda@mustardseed.ca

Colin Tessier
Executive Director
The Mustard Seed
Tel: (250) 953-1575
colin@mustardseed.ca

Angela Hudson
Executive Director
St. Vincent de Paul
Tel: (250) 382-3213
Svdp.ahudson1@gmail.com

Brian Slous
Executive Director
The Salvation Army Victoria Addictions & Rehabilitation Centre
Tel: (250) 384-3396
Brian_slous@can.salvationarmy.org

Danielle Stevenson
Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses
Tel: (250) 388-7696
daniellestevenson@gmail.com

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