A fruitful partnership fuels summer smiles  

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Community, Environment, Food Waste, Hunger Relief

It was around 3 p.m. on a sunny Friday when a truck carrying 49,000 pounds of Dole’s fruit cups slowly rolled into Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank, having travelled hundreds of miles on the road and a two-hour long ferry ride to reach Nanaimo. Soon, these nourishing treats would find their way into the hands of 44 communities and children in need across Vancouver Island.  

“This is one of the most requested items we get from clients and we’re looking forward to spreading these to people in need all over Vancouver Island,” Abby Sauchuk, Director of Development at Loaves & Fishes Food Bank said. “It is especially going to be appreciated by the children clients when they’re out of school and not receiving lunch and snacks through school over the summer.” 

These fruit cups couldn’t have come at a better time. Icon International, a specialized finance company that helps businesses improve their asset efficiency, played a pivotal role in facilitating this donation. They collaborated with Second Harvest’s food rescue operations teams in Ontario and British Columbia in the entire process, from reserving the surplus stock to arranging the delivery terms. 

When Second Harvest’s Ontario foodraising manager Maureen Kirkpatrick heard from ICON International that 40 pallets of surplus fruit cups were looking for a home, she knew it was an opportunity not to be missed. Having learned the terms and conditions of the delivery, she immediately contacted Shelley Lycan, our operations manager in British Columbia, for her recommendation of a suitable non-profit agency.  

Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank’s large network of partners and storage capacity made them a perfect fit. They’re currently serving over 15,000 people in more than 44 communities, including 15 Indigenous communities in Vancouver Island. The organization operates several programs, including free food markets, hamper delivery for people who are medically unable to leave their house and free food for livestock or compost.  

Transporting perishable goods across Canada’s vast and diverse landscape was no simple feat, but this heartwarming delivery was particularly challenging. Different parties across the supply chain were involved: Dole as the fruit cup manufacturer, ICON International as the broker, the logistic company as the courier and Second Harvest’s operations team as the connecting point with the non-profit.  

At the other end of the process, Loaves & Fishes also works closely with their volunteers to make sure they have the manpower and resources for loading, storing and distributing the donation. Sometimes a donation could fall through if one of these connections broke down.  

Because of this complexity, there were also many moving parts just hours prior to its arrival. Kirkpatrick recalled the uncertainty surrounding the delivery time, which was crucial for the food bank’s volunteer capacity. But despite the hurdles, the team’s perseverance paid off. 

“Literally, the truck pulled in at 3 o’clock, just before the volunteers arrived at 4,” Kirkpatrick said with a relief. 

Thanks to the dedication and collective efforts from ICON International and Loaves & Fishes, thousands of children on Vancouver Island will have access to nutritious snacks throughout the summer. It’s the incredible impact of community partnerships like this that will continue to drive us as we seek a more nourished future for all.  

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