Envision Financial has committed to provide $1 million over the next decade to 11 food banks in the province, including those in Abbotsford and Mission, through a campaign launched Thursday called The Full Cupboard.
The innovative community program is designed to raise food, funds and awareness for food banks throughout the Lower Mainland, the Fraser Valley and in Kitimat.
The credit union is responding to a "staggering need" for more support of local food banks, said Envision Financial president Shelley Besse.
"In the past five years, there has been a 23 per cent increase in the number of people using food banks in B.C.
"That's why we're so proud to be announcing The Full Cupboard and making it our signature cause to help drive awareness and raise funds for these important community organizations."
To kick-off the program, Envision Financial will donate $5,000 to Food Banks BC and $1,000 to each of the 11 food banks in the 10 communities where the local financial institution operates, for a total investment of $16,000.
The commitment of funds couldn't come at a better time for the Abbotsford Food Bank, which is at a critical point in its 30-year history, said its manager, Dave Murray.
"The numbers of people in need of our services has grown dramatically, including the over 3,000 children who are the innocent by-standers to the poverty that surrounds their family," Murry said.
He added that a growing number of seniors are using the food bank as their pensions and other income are not enough to pay the rent and put food on the table.
"In light of these challenges we are so delighted that Envision Financial has stepped forward in creating The Full Cupboard," he said.
"Everyone in our community should have access to good healthy food."
Envision Financial has a long history of supporting food banks, with funds and through its annual employee volunteer service week, Besse said.
"The Full Cupboard deepens our commitment to our community food banks and reiterates our desire to give back in a substantial way in the fight against hunger."
Following the success of Feed the Valley, the signature cause of Valley First, Envision Financial's regional partner in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys, The Full Cupboard was developed as a long-term community investment program at Envision Financial and will run in conjunction with the organization's already well-established community support initiatives. Other partners are also getting on board.
Each branch will have a shopping cart where members can leave tinned foods.
People can also donate change, or larger amounts to receive receipts for tax deductions.
Canned meats, vegetables, peanut butter and dry pasta are especially appreciated.
Cash donations of $20 or more are tax-deductible and can be made as one-time contributions, through regular pre-authorized payments or online at www.foodbanksbc.com/get-involved/thefullcupboard.
The general public is invited to show their support for their local food bank. Details on local initiatives will be posted at www.envisionfinancial.ca.