Members of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) Local 556 pooled their union dues and contributed 70 cases of tinned wild salmon to the Comox Valley Food Bank on Thursday.
The union is a member of Protein for People, a community partnership started by unions and the United Way to address protein shortages at B.C.’s food banks.
“Our members thought the program was a great way to help provide a healthy addition of protein to the food bank supplies while also providing some variety,” Local 556 president Karen Garrett said. “The protein that wild salmon provides is vital.”
In February, Local 556 and other CUPE locals along with the Vancouver Island District Labour Council had donated 12 cases to the food bank.
“We spend about $5,000 annually towards local charities,” Garrett said.
Local 556 represents about 200 municipal workers from Cumberland, Comox, Courtenay and the regional district. It is responsible for providing water, sewer and other services throughout the Valley. Each year, through members’ union dues, the Local donates to local charities.
“This is a tremendous effort on your part to help the food bank with your donation,” CV Food Bank vice-president Paul Macknight said to Garrett. “It’s not just the food that represents the people in need, but the idea that you took the time to care enough to reach out to the community.”
Each month, the local food bank serves roughly 1,200 people, about three per cent of whom are children. Most clients are single parents, the working poor and people in transition.
“That’s the lion’s share of the type of clients we’re dealing with,” Macknight said. “We do have some clients, if we didn’t feed them once in a while, they would die.”