North

'A lot of people are going to be really thankful': Whitehorse food bank gets 340 kg meat donation

A Yukon meat company 45 kg of locally farmed meat for every $100 in orders on its online store.

'This is the difference between people getting meat in their hamper and not' says food bank executive director

Dave Blottner, left, executive director of the Whitehorse Food Bank, accepts a 340 kg meat donation from Matt Douglas, right, of Yukon Born and Raised. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

The executive director of the Whitehorse Food Bank says a meat donation from a Yukon farm collective is a big help at a time of heightened need. 

"This is the difference between people getting meat in their hamper and not," said Dave Blottner about a 340-kilogram donation from Yukon Born and Raised.

"For them to do this — a lot of people are going to be very thankful. It means a lot."

Blottner said the food bank has seen a 30 per cent increase in demand since the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Yukon. 

4.5 kg for every $100 in sales

Matt Douglas, co-founder of Yukon Born and Raised, said he came up with the idea of donating meat to the food bank after a recent visit to the facility. 

"Call me biased, but we decided people should have a little bit more meat in these hampers." 

The meat company donated 4.5 kilograms (10 lbs) for every $100 in online orders. Douglas said the company will be making another donation next month, based on April's sales.

Yukon Born and Raised says its farmers were happy to be participate in the initiative to donate meat to the food banks. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Yukon Born and Raised sources meat such as beef, boar, pork and lamb from local farmers including Horse Haven Ranch, Flat Creek Farms and Old Farmer Roberts. 

"Our group of farmers throughout the Yukon have been really happy to participate in this [meat donation]."

Douglas said farmers are busy and his company's online store has seen an increase in sales from mostly new customers since the pandemic started. 

"I think more than ever, people in the Yukon and especially here in Whitehorse are starting to see that there isn't always meat at the grocery store."

Canned goods and produce are the staple items distributed in food hampers to people in need. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Food bank starts offering takeout meals

Unfortunately, demand has also been up at the food bank.

Blottner said the donated meat will be added to food hampers that are distributed three times a week to families and individuals in need. 

He said the food bank isn't usually in a position to buy meat for hampers, instead focusing on canned goods and produce. 

"This [donation] is something extra special in a time where people need that little extra bit of coverage and a little extra food," Blottner said.

Last month, the food bank started helping to distribute takeout lunches and dinners at its facility, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition. The meals are prepared by the Yukon government for clients at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter, and the food bank is helping to reduce the number of people going to the shelter for those meals.

"That, we can't keep enough food in stock for. It's been pretty busy lately."

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story said the food bank has started serving takeout meals at its facility. The food bank is distributing those meals, which are prepared for clients of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter.
    Apr 27, 2020 1:40 PM CT

Written by Karen McColl with files from Wayne Vallevand

now