grocery-produce-shopper-CC-Old Shoe Woman

A quarter won’t get you very far these days—but an innovative program in Canada, is helping folks put their loose change to good use.

April 7 is World Health Day, and what could be happier than fresh produce. As part of a “Food For Friends” program, grocery stores around Woodstock, Ontario have been inviting shoppers to add 25 cents to their check-out bill to help local families in need. The money, which is collectively transferred onto food cards, allows families the opportunity to shop for their own fresh groceries, and avoid the shame associated with visiting a traditional food bank.

It’s amazing how fast those quarters add up. Now in it’s ninth year, the initiative has raised between $75,000-$90,000 a year for the 275 families enrolled in the program— an amount equivalent to what typically feeds those families through the food bank system.

The cards are not only a more discreet method of distributing food, they’re also more efficient, cutting out the need for food truck deliveries, warehouse storage, and volunteer hours. Not a cent is used for administrative costs, and it’s a great way for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds to help others within their own community.

The program was developed by Stephen Giuliano, the Director of Operation Sharing, a group that assists low-income people in Oxford County. Giuliano hopes to use this approach with other Operation Sharing programs such as the homeless shelter, disability support and children’s services.

Believing the model could be used across Canada as a method for addressing poverty, he told The Star, “I think we can make history here.”

(WATCH the video below from CBC’s The National) – File Photo: by Old Shoe Woman, CC

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