FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, DEC. 13, 2019
Belleville – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, recognized the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) for their efforts to ensure all of the province’s citizens have access to healthy, nutritious food throughout the year.
Speaking at the Gleaners Food Bank, Smith noted that through its CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program in partnership with Feed Ontario, CFO makes it possible for each of its members to donate 300 chickens each year to local food banks. This year, about 500 chicken farmers donated through the program, translating to over 1.5 million meals. Since 2015, the program has supplied 4 million meals.
“In recent years, more and more Ontario residents have turned to food banks regularly. Programs like CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks ensure they have access to fresh, nutritious options on the dinner table,” said Smith. “I congratulate our local chicken farmers for taking care to ensure their neighbours can visit welcoming community spaces across the province - like Gleaners - and take fresh chicken home.”
Smith added the Government of Ontario also plays a role in supporting the vital partnership. Thorough the Food Donation Tax Credit for Farmers, the government promotes local food contributions by offering farmers a 25-per-cent tax credit for the fresh food they donate.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman added the government is pleased to support the Chicken Farmers of Ontario in their giving.
“It’s incredible to see the Chicken Farmers of Ontario make such a positive difference to so many people across our province,” said Hardeman. “The CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program demonstrates the huge generosity of Ontario’s chicken farmers and the hard work they do all year round to make this remarkable contribution possible.”
CFO board director Tim Klompmaker said Ontario’s chicken farmers value its partnership with Feed Ontario and the government.
“Hundreds of farmers have already jumped up at the opportunity to donate chicken and help those in need. It is truly amazing how chicken farmers have responded, and it is only made possible through strong partnership with government, Feed Ontario, and local food banks,” said Klompmaker.
“When chicken farmers donate fresh, nutritious, locally-grown chicken, it takes many food bank volunteers to sort it, portion it, and deliver it to people in need. The food bank staff and volunteers are the real heroes in helping tackle hunger in our community.”
Gleaners Food Bank public relations and fundraising co-ordinator Sarah Kring said the partnership is well received by its clients, adding the donations also allow the not-for-profit charity to dedicate fundraised dollars to address other client needs.
“Our clients’ incomes are spent on rent and utilities first and then, after those bills are paid, there may be limited or no funds remaining to purchase food. Fresh proteins and produce are expensive and, therefore, our clients choose less food items in order to stretch their dollars further,” said Kring. ”Our organization is thrilled to be a part of this program and recognize the CFO donors as it has provided our clients with a protein item that normally they would not be able to afford otherwise.”
Smith encouraged Bay of Quinte residents to follow the CFO’s lead by considering donations to their local food banks this holiday season to address food insecurity.