Canada is a prosperous, affluent country with a progressive social welfare system — so many people are shocked to learn that one in eight Canadians live in food-insecure households. About 850,000 Canadians turn to food donation centres each month, a third of them children. Food insecurity is a real issue in Canada, as is food waste — 60% of food produced is wasted.
Addressing food waste proactively
John Pacitti is the Director of Development — Global at Food Donation Connection, one of the many organizations working to address these issues. “We work with restaurants and food service companies to help coordinate their donations of surplus food,” he says. “There’s a balance between restaurants making sure they’re not overproducing and serving good-quality, hot, fresh food to their customers. Now restaurants have developed a way to safely redirect any surplus food to local charities that are feeding people in need.”
Rochelle Berenyi is the Executive Director at Carmichael Outreach, a non-profit in Regina, SK, that provides services to people experiencing poverty and homelessness, from a housing support program and a free donation-based thrift shop to a meal program that prepares free lunches for the community.
“One of our main pillars is our food recovery program,” says Berenyi. “We call it the food recovery program because we work with partners in the community, like KFC, recovering food that may otherwise have gone to waste that we can use to prepare meals to provide to the community.”
Feeding those in need has always been at the very core of KFC’s mission.Nivera Wallani, President & General Manager of KFC Canada
Both organizations have partnered with KFC and its Harvest program, through which KFC’s restaurants donate their surplus chicken to local charities across Canada. The initiative helps address the needs of food-insecure people while also keeping good food out of the landfill. “It’s a win-win for the restaurants, community, and environment,” says Pacitti.
KFC’s Harvest Program provides the essential protein required for balanced meals. Since 2016, KFC has donated over 201,000 pounds of chicken to 244 Canadian charities. Seeing that food insecurity was a growing problem at the onset of COVID-19, it further expanded its donations to include additional items like fresh produce, chicken tenders, popcorn chicken, and Big Crunch filets. In 2020 alone, 51,640 pounds of food have been donated to 184 unique charity locations, with 37,665 pounds having been donated since the onset of COVID-19. During the pandemic, KFC also ran a 1 Bucket = 1 Meal campaign to drive donations to Food Banks of Canada as part of its social purpose program.
“Feeding those in need has always been at the very core of KFC’s mission,” says Nivera Wallani, President and General Manager of KFC Canada. “I’m so proud of our Harvest Program and our franchisees and team members for committing to it. We’re making a difference at the local level all across Canada.”
Food insecurity and food waste are critical concerns that must be addressed, and fortunately many organizations are working hard to eradicate them. In partnership with charities from coast to coast, KFC’s Harvest Program is leading the way.