Nova Scotia

Giant food donation puts North Sydney food bank in quandary

All food banks in Nova Scotia will benefit from a $100K food donation originally intended for the North Sydney Community Food Bank.

Food bank turns over $100K in food products to Feed Nova Scotia for storage and distribution

Lawrence Shebib, North Sydney Community Food Bank co-ordinator, says the facility had no room to store the $100,000 food donation. (George Mortimer/CBC)

For the first time in its history, the North Sydney Community Food Bank has so much food that it can't find a place to store it all.

"I really couldn't believe it. It's the first time that we were offered something we couldn't take," food bank co-ordinator Lawrence Shebib said Wednesday. "We never refuse anything, no matter what it is."

An international food giant is donating over $100,000 in products to the food bank.

Feed Nova Scotia to distribute products

Shebib said after running through a few scenarios — "I talked to two or three of the other food banks and they don't have the refrigeration capability and we had no way to get it out fast enough" — the facility decided to give the lot to Feed Nova Scotia for provincewide distribution.

The donation is part of the Kraft Heinz Project Play contest, which also provided $150,000 for renovations to the Munro Park soccer field in North Sydney.

The items will include blocks of cheese, salad dressing, peanut butter, fruit drinks and more.

There are 16 food banks in Cape Breton that will benefit from the donation, including Sydney's Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen, which has seen an eight-per-cent increase in demand over the past year.

Happy to get free cheese

Loaves and Fishes manager Marco Amati welcomes the free cheese in particular.

"It's fantastic," he said. "All our meals are cooked from scratch and we'll take whatever we can get."

Karen Theriault, director of development and communications with Feed Nova Scotia, said the organization is beginning to receive the Kraft Heinz food.

"What is really great is the variety of items they're donating, and cheese in particular is a high-protein item and it's something that we don't get very often," she said.

The products will be delivered through a "fair-share distribution system," making sure each food bank gets food proportionate to the number of clients they are supporting.

For the North Sydney Community Food Bank, with its 800 active files, more than 100 families will be helped this month, Shebib said.