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Fuelling brighter futures

$20,000 donation to OAFB Capacity Building Program enables 12 Ontario food banks to accept, store, and distribute more fresh food ahead of Hunger Action Month in September

September 5, 2017 – Gay Lea Foods is pleased to announce that a $20,000 donation from the Gay Lea Foundation has been distributed to food banks across Ontario as part of the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) 2017 Capacity Building Program.

The Capacity Building Program addresses an immediate need in the food bank community by providing food banks with funding to increase their capacity to accept and distribute fresh food such as milk, eggs, fruit, produce and dairy products for adults and children living with hunger.

Of the 12 Ontario food banks selected to receive capacity building grants in 2017, 11 will use the funding to repair old refrigerators and/or freezers, or to replace broken or inefficient units with new, larger, and more energy-efficient equipment. More than 50% of the food distributed by the OAFB is fresh or frozen, making this grant an important program for increasing the collective ability of Ontario’s food bank community to provide healthy, balanced fresh food options.

Another food bank will use the funds to replace the battery in an aging forklift – a critical tool for moving and storing food donations.

“The Capacity Building Program is essential to ensure food banks have the resources they need to provide a safe and steady supply of nutritious, healthy food to those in need in their communities,” says Carolyn Stewart, Executive Director, OAFB. “With the support of the Gay Lea Foundation, our 2017 Capacity Building Program grant recipients will be able to upgrade their facilities and equipment, significantly increasing the support they provide.”

The donation to the OAFB’s Capacity Building Program is one of the many ways Gay Lea Foods is providing support to families and communities around the world through the Gay Lea Foundation, the official registered charity of the co-operative.

“Gay Lea Foods places great value on being able to contribute to the strengthening and sustainable development of communities through the support of community-based programs and services such as those provided by the OAFB,” says Gerry Van den Hengel, Chair of the Gay Lea Foundation.

“On behalf of the Foundation, we are enormously pleased to support the OAFB’s Capacity Building Program, which not only helps to address communities’ short term hunger needs, but also contributes to their long-term health and success.”

The 2017 Capacity Building Program grants were awarded in late August, ahead of what is typically a busy time for the food bank community. September has been designated as Hunger Action Month, reminding us that there are many in need in our community.

Visit to learn more about the Capacity Building Program and other ways you can make a difference in your community during #HungerActionMonth and beyond.

2017 Capacity Building Program Grant Recipients

  • Brock Community Food Bank
  • Community Food Share Winchester
  • Elliot Lake Emergency Food Bank
  • Kawartha Food Share, Peterborough
  • Hawkesbury Central Food Bank</li
  • Mattawa & Area Food Bank
  • Minden Community Food Centre
  • The Mississauga Food Bank
  • Regional Food Distribution Association of Northwestern Ontario
  • The Salvation Army St Mary’s Food Bank
  • South Frontenac Community Services Food Bank, Sydenham
  • The Salvation Army Huntsville

About the Gay Lea Foundation

The Gay Lea Foundation is the official registered charity and collaborative forum for Gay Lea Foods and its members, directors and employees to support families and communities in need. Since receiving charitable status in 2014, the Foundation has provided more than $520,000 in funding support for education, poverty relief and community well-being projects in Canada and around the world. The primary source of funding for the Foundation is an annual $100,000 contribution from Gay Lea Foods, which is supplemented by personal contributions from across the Gay Lea Foods family. Funding applications are assessed twice a year by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, which is comprised of Gay Lea Foods Directors, delegates, dairy producer members and employees.

About the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)

The Ontario Association of Food Banks is the province’s leading provider of emergency food support to front-line hunger-relief agencies and the leader in province-wide hunger research. Their mission is to strengthen communities by providing food banks with food, resources, and solutions that address both short and long-term food insecurity. Through 128 direct member food banks and more than 1,100 affiliates, the OAFB provides over 6 million pounds of fresh and non-perishable food annually to those who need it most. The OAFB is not government funded and relies exclusively on the generosity of caring individuals and organizations to support and achieve its vision of a hunger-free Ontario.


Robin Redstone, Communications Manager
Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.
(905) 283-5208

Amanda King, Director of Membership &Communications
Ontario Association of Food Banks
416-656-4100 x2932

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