Lentils grown by Saskatchewan farmers donated to Regina Meals Financial institution

Viterra will be spending $225,000 to purchase and process pulses from farmers, which then will be used to provide more than 200,000 bags of lentils for families in the Regina region.

It’s all a part of a program called ‘Viterra Farmers Feeding Families’ which was announced by Viterra on Wednesday.

The company’s North America CEO, Kyle Jeworski, said it feels important to feed people at home.

“We’re proud to be making this significant investment in Regina to further support our farmers and our local community,” Jeworski said.

“This is something we’ve been working on for quite some time and we’re ready to go, I think on all accounts, and we look forward to getting these into people’s hands and them eating it.”

Red lentils, which are abundantly grown in the province, will be the pulse of choice that is purchased from local farmers. Some education pieces will be made available on the packaging to show the nutritious aspect of the legume, as well as some ways in which it can be eaten.

Regina Food Bank CEO John Bailey says the number of people requiring meal assistance over the last year has grown tremendously.

He believes this initiative comes at an important time to help those who need it most.

“This is a really exciting day for our food bank. We have seen an incredible surge in demand,” Bailey said.

“This time last year, we were servicing about 6,500 people a month and, just in March, that total was at 11,000 people served.

“The demand has gone up in a way that’s truly staggering to what we’re looking to do here.”

Bailey went on to call the announcement “transformational,” adding it will change the way the food bank delivers food to the community.

It’s safe to say this initiative will involve a lot of teamwork as Viterra will do the processing of all the lentils before Canmar puts them into roughly 200,000 bags to be distributed.

Bennett Dunlop Ford will also be refurbishing vehicles that are a part of the food bank’s fleet to help them better serve the community.

“This program will allow us to get locally grown crops to people and really represent farmers feeding families and neighbours feeding neighbours,” Bailey said.

“We think that this will have an absolutely profound impact on the communities we serve.”

The food bank expects to start getting bags as early as next week.

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