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Paper coupons make a comeback

Last year in Canada, 14 per cent of Food Banks ran out of food, and 55 per cent had to cut back on the food they were able to to give out because there wasn't enough.

Food Banks in BC face an overwhelming challenge each day in trying to provide enough for those who are in desperate need of the service.

Fifteen years ago, as a way to bring relief to Food Banks, a program was started between the Ministry of Agriculture and grocery stores in the province.

The Food Banks BC Sharing Coupons program started out using a paper coupon that could be purchased at stores by adding two dollars to the grocery bill. Over the years it switched to an electronic process.

However by using the electronic process Food Banks were losing donations and a relaunch was needed.

Vonnie Lavers, the executive director of the Kelowna Food Bank, says the Sharing Coupons have been re-designed back to the original paper coupon with the help of Valley First.

"By relaunching it as a physical tear off coupon with a fresh look and fresh marketing around the Buy BC program, we will see donations go up. So that is really what the relaunch is about, to put more buying power back in the bank for food banks."

Grocery partners like Canada Safeway, who have been a part of the program for years, are standing behind the relaunch and hoping it will garner more donations for local food banks.

Mary D'astolfo of Canada Safeway says hopefully the paper coupon will bring awareness to shoppers who may not know about the coupon or ways to donate.

"With the new testimonials on the back I think it will really provide an educational piece to what they are supporting."

Not only was Valley First and its parent company First West Credit Union collaborated with BC Food Banks on the re-launch of the sharing coupons but they were also essential in raising a significant  amount of money for the not-for-profit as well.

Through the program Feed the Valley, one million dollars was to be raised in 10 years, yet in just three years the cause has garnered $500,000, a milestone for the finical institution.

Valley First President Paulette Rennie says they wanted to give back to every community that they had a branch in.

"You have to find that local cause…. and whenever we went out there, there was one common issue and that was hunger in all of our communities."

Feed the Valley was launched in March of 2010, and aims to raise food funds and awareness for Food Banks in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions.

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