Kamloops and District Labour Council Gives Area Food Banks a Protein Boost

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Left to Right: Glen Foster (Chase Food Bank), Anton Houeen (Barriere Food Bank), Mogens Jorgensen (KDLC), Wes Graham (Kamloops Food Bank), James Schnackenberg (Kamloops Food Bank), and Sherry Joubert (Clearwater Food Bank)

Last month, the Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC) – in partnership with Protein for People – distributed 140 cases of canned salmon to food banks in Kamloops, Chase, Barriere, Clearwater, and Merritt.

Protein for People

Protein for People is a non-profit society that was founded by six BC unions and the United Way in 2006. Since then, it has grown to include over 30 unions, labour councils, and community-minded corporations that work together to provide high quality protein to local food banks. To date, the program has overseen the delivery of hundreds of thousands of cans of salmon to BC food banks and, in turn, to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

How it works

Member organizations, unions, labour councils, and individual union members donate cash, and the power of bulk-buying is then used to subsidize food bank purchases of protein-based foods that are generally in short supply at food banks. The mainstay of the program has been canned salmon, but peanut butter was added as a meat alternative in 2016. Corporate partners contribute to the cause either by donating cash or providing other services. Save-On Foods, for example, has generously been handling the shipping of goods from the lower mainland to our area, which cuts costs and greatly increases the amount of food we are able to purchase.

The KDLC connection

Picture1The KDLC began working with Protein for People about four years ago, when the project was taken on by Executive member Mogens Jorgensen. A retired United Food and Commercial Union worker, Jorgensen was able to make all the connections necessary to successfully bring the project to our local communities. Since that time, he has devoted himself to working on this important initiative almost singlehandedly on behalf of the KDLC.

Food Banks

While labour organizations promote actions that empower people to be self-sufficient – sustainable employment, improved working conditions, and a living wage – we also recognize that food banks are still a necessity for many people, at least in the short term. Food bank clients are not solely those who must live on social assistance. A growing number of Canadians using food banks are employed, but have been forced into low paying jobs that keep them living below the official “poverty line.” The number of two-parent families reliant on food banks has grown faster than any other demographic, and over 30% of food bank users are children.

Through the KDLC’s partnership with Protein for People, those of us who are fortunate enough to have union jobs that pay a living wage are able to offer support to our sisters, brothers, and friends who might need a hand up.

For more information on the Protein for People project, go to proteinproject.ca.

Submitted by Harmony Ráine

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