Regina Meals Financial institution declares collaboration with Sask. farmers to struggle meals insecurity

The Regina Food Bank has seen an increase in food insecure clients lately due to the pandemic and a rising population of newcomers in the city.

A new program, Viterra Farmers Feeding Families, will use Saskatchewan’s agriculture to provide for more food bank clients.

“This time last year we were serving 6,500 people a month. Last year we were up to 9,200 and just in March we reached 11,000 people served,” said John Bailey, CEO of Regina Food Bank. “So the demand has gone up in a way that is truly staggering.”

The food bank is working with Viterra to purchase and process pulses with a goal of distributing more than 200,000 bags to clients and community partners annually.

John Bailey, CEO of Regina Food Bank, said he is grateful for a program like this at a time when the bank has many mouths to feed. (Regina Food Bank)

Viterra put $225,000 into the program for the purchase and processing of pulses from Saskatchewan farmers. The federal government contributed $200,000 for the purchase of delivery vehicles. Regina-based Canmar Food Products will also be packaging 200,000 bags annually and Conexus Credit Union has granted the food bank access to a kitchen where the pulses will be processed.

The program has been in development for months.

“Those in need of a nutritional food source are somewhat irrelevant of the pandemic and I think it’s one we would do irrelevant of the circumstances around us today,” said CEO of Viterra North America Kyle Jeworski. “We just think it’s a great opportunity to give back.”

The first pulse will be red lentils, but the organizers of the program hope to diversify the options as the program continues to develop. The distribution is set to roll-out within the next week, along with material educating the community on ways the red lentils could be used.

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