Lives touched…feeding Burlington’s hungry

food_for_life

Going to bed hungry is not what you expect in a community that MoneySense magazine has ranked best mid-sized city to live. Recognizing local families in need, resident George Bagaco started redistributing baked goods in 1995, an inspired idea that grew into Food for Life Canada, Halton Region’s largest food recovery program. Today, Food For Life delivers surplus food from restaurants, grocery stores and the corporate food sector to more than 40 social service agencies and 36 local outreach programs.

The Burlington Foundation was instrumental in providing a grant for the first refrigerated vehicle. This grant allowed Food for Life to establish the ReFresh Foods program, the first food collection and distribution hub to run a hybrid diesel/electric truck to safely transport perishable and frozen foods.

ReFresh Foods delivers healthy and nutritious items–including fruits, vegetables and baked goods–not typically found in traditional food banks. More recently, a Foundation grant supported driver and fuel costs as well as upgraded a walk-in chiller at the charity’s 6,000-square-foot Burlington warehouse. The new unit provides efficient refrigeration for food safety, performs better, uses less energy and costs less to operate.

According to a Food for Life feasibility study, an estimated 31,000 Halton residents need access to emergency food. People who are committed to ensuring that good food does not go to waste are at the heart of Food for Life. In 2014, close to 2,000,000 pounds of donated nutritious food–with a retail value of over $5 million–was redistributed to those in need. Touching hundreds of Burlingtonian lives each and every day, this local food recovery program is delivering on George’s vision that “No man, woman or child should have to go to bed hungry while stores, restaurants and other food suppliers are tossing food in our landfills.”

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