From field, to basket to table: Volunteers bring in harvest for Ontario's
food banks

    Direct Energy volunteers pick vegetables to help local families this

MARKHAM, ON, Oct. 6 /CNW/ - On Tuesday, October 6, one hundred volunteers from Direct Energy are picking thousands of pounds of fresh corn, tomatoes, and green beans today to help local families and food banks in time for Thanksgiving. The large gleaning project, taking place at Whittamore's Farm in Markham is an initiative of the Ontario Association of Food Banks. The goal is to raise 5,000 pounds of fresh, local foods to help an estimated 2,000 families this Thanksgiving weekend.

"With over 350,000 Ontarians forced to turn to food banks each month, there is a significant need to increase the amount of fresh foods we are able to provide," says Adam Spence, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Food Banks, "We are delighted that Direct Energy and Whittamore's Farm are helping their neighbours in such tough economic times."

The volunteers will be picking fresh crops which are left on the land once the harvest has completed, a process is known as 'gleaning.' In Ontario, it is estimated that over 25 million pounds of food remain on fields each year; this product is normally disposed of or tilled back into the soil. This surplus opportunity has led the OAFB, Direct Energy, and Whittamore's to partner on this event.

"This is community investment in the truest sense of the word - farming, charitable and corporate partners coming together to bring food to the tables of those that need it most this Thanksgiving weekend," says Hillary Marshall, Vice President Communications at Direct Energy.

OAFB is working with companies, agricultural organizations and farmers to identify additional opportunities for large gleaning projects, and aims to launch a provincial program dedicated to this activity. Direct Energy is the first company to provide and dedicate over 100 volunteers to a provincial gleaning initiative.

"This sort of event shows what great work we can do when Ontario's farms and food banks come together," says Spence. "We know that a lot of families will have a good Thanksgiving meal because of what we do here today."

If you would like to find out more about food banks in Ontario, please visit

About OAFB

The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 100 food banks including communities across the province from Ottawa to Windsor, and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay. For more information about the OAFB, as well as hunger and poverty in Ontario, please visit

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 21 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit

SOURCE Ontario Association of Food Banks

For further information: For further information: Adam Spence, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Food Banks, Mobile: (416) 543-0897; Crystal Jongeward, Direct Energy, (416) 590-3248,

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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