One local man’s idea has been helping put some extra items on the food bank shelf for the past eight years.
The Kick One In program, initiated by Yellow Point’s Richard Hill, allows customers of Sysco Food Services to make tax-deductible donations to their local food bank when placing orders for their business.
Hill said he was walking down the street in Nanaimo when a newspaper reporter approached him and asked what people could do to help the food bank.
“I said ‘drop off some food’ — it’s pretty straightforward,” he said.
To his surprise, he was told he was the first person to give that answer.
“Sure enough, when Monday rolled around, I got the paper and people were saying ‘well, the grocery stores should be forced to kick in’ or ‘the government should do more,’ or ‘people should eat less,’ and then there’s me going ‘just drop off some food,’” he said. “Then I thought, ‘wait a minute, I don’t do that. I don’t go to the grocery store and buy groceries and take a can of beans and drop it off at the food bank.’”
With that thought in mind, Hill approached Sysco and the Ladysmith Food Bank and proposed a system where businesses ordering products could keep a second delivery address on file — the food bank — and order extra cases of product and have them shipped off and billed directly, and then be issued a tax receipt at the end of the year.
“All it was, was taking the existing infrastructure and shifting it a tiny bit,” Hill said.
Currently, there are 14 food banks on Vancouver Island participating in the Kick One In program. Hill said it is even generating interest in other parts of the country.
Ladysmith Food Bank director Kit Wilmot said donations have been sporadic but picking up in the last six months as businesses learn about Kick One In.
“The stuff coming in has been a drop in the ocean, but more recently, there’s been more coming in and it’s helped quite a bit,” he said.
The Ladysmith Food Bank currently serves about 300 families a week. The spring season can be a hard time for food banks, as the last of the Christmas food donations wear thin, while the demand is still high.
Anyone wanting to learn more about the Kick One In program can visit the program’s website.