/R E P E A T -- Ontario's Producer Groups Support Ontarians in Need/

TORONTO, May 7, 2014 /CNW/ - This week is Hunger Awareness Week, a movement to raise awareness about the solvable problem of hunger in Canada. In support of this campaign, events will be taking place across Ontario and Canada to help communicate the truth about food bank use and tell the stories of our nation's most vulnerable.

"How many people are too many?" asks Bill Laidlaw, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB). "There are over 375,000 Ontarians accessing food banks every month in this province – 131,000 of which are children."

There are a number of groups in Ontario who have recognized this need and – in partnership with the OAFB – developed exclusive programs to help address the growing need for accessible, healthy food in the province and the issue of food insecurity.

"We are without a doubt truly grateful for Ontario's Producer groups," says Laidlaw. "Ontario Dairy Farmers and Processors, Egg Farmers and Graders, Pork, Beef, Chicken, and Turkey Farmers – they have all made significant commitments to our organization this year and, more importantly, have provided thousands of pounds of local food to children and adults who might not otherwise have access to fresh, healthy protein."

The OAFB would especially like to recognize the contributions made by the following organizations:

Thank you to the Egg Farmers of Ontario for their very generous donation of $250,000 worth of eggs to food banks in this province. This commitment will provide more than 12,000 dozen eggs per month for families in need throughout the upcoming year.

Thank you to the Ontario Dairy Council and Dairy Farmers of Ontario for their ongoing support through the provincial milk program. Now in its 19th year, this program provides almost 1 million litres of milk annually to Ontario's Food Banks.

Thank you to Ontario Pork. Now in its second year, the pork program has provided more than 20,000 servings of fresh, ground pork to Ontarians in need. This year, the program hopes to expand to $80,000 worth of fresh product for our food banks and the people they serve.

Thank you to the Turkey Farmers of Ontario for their ongoing support and for providing over $30,000 of fresh turkey to the province's food banks. This provided those in need with over 12,000 pounds of turkey.

Thank you to the Beef Farmers of Ontario. This year, the OAFB in partnership with Beef Farmers of Ontario will be launching a pilot program that will provide food banks across the province with access to fresh, ground beef.

"There are no words for our gratitude. Ontario's farmers and producer groups are making incredible contributions to food banks throughout the year and are, without a doubt, providing fresh, healthy food that might not otherwise be available to Ontarians in need", says Laidlaw. "From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You for everything that you are doing to help address hunger in our province, and for the dramatic increase in fresh, nutrient-rich food you have made available to thousands of Ontarians."

For more information on Food Banks and the services they provide, please visit: ontariohunger.ca  

About Ontario Association of Food Banks

The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of 127 food banks and over 1,100 hunger relief programs and agencies across the province. Together, we serve 375,000 individuals, including 131,000 children, every month. The OAFB is committed to reducing hunger through sustainable solutions that ensure the long-term health and success of communities across the province.

SOURCE Ontario Association of Food Banks

For further information: or to request an interview with Bill Laidlaw, please contact: Amanda King, Ontario Association of Food Banks, amanda@oafb.ca, 416-656-4100 x2932