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Chicken Challenge Takes Flight

Ottawa Food Bank Newsletter Article – December 2010.

2010 was a year in which the Ottawa Food Bank was able to distribute more nutritious animal protein to its beneficiaries than ever before. This is thanks to its partnerships with agricultural producers, who helped supply the Chicken Challenge and Food Aid programs, to name just a few.

Food Aid, a beef distribution program that is unique among Canadian food banks, reached a milestone this year when it purchased its one-thousandth cow. Food Aid’s flagship BBQ took place this June at Marion Dewar Place, raising over $100,000 and signaling a great future for the program.

When the Chicken Farmers of Canada proposed a similar initiative that would focus on frozen chicken, Ottawa Food Bank staff were instantly behind it. The two organizations have a strong relationship, owing to past Chicken Farmers initiatives like an annual BBQ on Parliament Hill that regularly raises thousands of dollars for the fight against community hunger.

“The Chicken Farmers of Canada are extremely community-minded; they’ve supported the Ottawa Food Bank for several years, and we’re so fortunate that they decided to take their efforts to the next level,” says Peter Tilley, Executive Director at the Ottawa Food Bank. “There is certainly a need for fresh meat products in the Ottawa Region, and the Chicken Challenge has gone great lengths to address that need.”

Officials behind the Chicken Challenge purchased $50,000 worth of frozen chicken for the Ottawa Food Bank in 2010. Each quarter, the food bank received a new stock of frozen chicken, which it then distributed to its 140 agencies. Food bank beneficiaries received both processed and whole chickens, ensuring that meal possibilities for soup kitchens and hamper programs were diverse.

“For the past four years, we have continued to build on our solid relationship with the Ottawa Food Bank,” says Mike Dungate, Executive Director of the Chicken Farmers of Canada. “Canada’s 2,800 chicken farmers are proud to be able to share some of the high-quality, nutritious chicken they produce with the clients served by the Ottawa Food Bank.”

The Chicken Challenge represents just one of the Ottawa Food Bank’s growing ties to agricultural producers. Over the summer, the emergency food service organization participated in a new program called Community Harvest Ontario. As part of the program, local farmers grew, gleaned and donated over 35,000 pounds of fresh produce.

The Ottawa Food Bank salutes its partners in the agricultural industry, and thanks the Chicken Farmers of Canada for kick-starting this amazing new program!

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