Federal government’s plan to purchase and donate surplus food welcomed by Calgary Food Bank

CALGARY — The federal government has announced a new plan to help buy excess food that may otherwise go to waste and send it to assist organizations including the Calgary Food Bank.

The $50 million food surplus purchasing program is part of the larger $252 million in aid the government is contributing to the agriculture and food production industries.

Under the program, the federal government will recover the cost of buying the surplus food products —such as potatoes, poultry and pork —and send them to charitable groups across Canada.

“It’s an incredible gesture,” said Shawn Ogston, Calgary Food Bank spokesperson.

“We know that we have a very vulnerable population, and actually Calgary is vulnerable all around right now. We are experiencing this pandemic in a different way so knowing that we will be able to have the healthy food in the hampers for Calgarians will be amazing.”

Ogston says throughout the course of the COVID-19 outbreak in Calgary, the food bank has received a steady supply of food and financial funds.

“We know that this (pandemic) is not going to be something (that will be resolved) overnight, the job losses are phenomenal and we have to make sure that we are here in the long run.”