BARBURRITO RESTAURANTS INC.
To meet an increasing need for food bank donations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BarBurrito Restaurants will host food drives for 100 local food banks across Canada this November and December. Donors will be entered to win a variety of prizes, like an iPad Air, $100 gift cards, and free burritos for a year.
The Newmarket location at 17906 Yonge St. is supporting the Newmarket Food Pantry.
Hunger in Canada
According to Food Banks Canada's Hunger Count 2019, Canadians visited food banks over one million times last year. More than one third of those visitors were children. Food insecurity has worsened due to the pandemics's impact on the economy.
Statistics Canada reported that almost two million jobs were lost in April, with the unemployment rate rising by five per cent from March. Even those who were still employed received less shifts and were scheduled for less hours.
With more Canadians out of work, food banks are grappling with a spike in need and a shortage of supplies. The Daily Bread in Toronto saw a 53 per cent increase in usage when the lockdown began, but Food Banks Canada revealed that some foundations have seen a 50 per cent plunge in donations. These organizations have also been forced to pivot to maintain the health and safety of volunteers and visitors.
More of the charities’ budgets are eaten up by cleaning and sanitation supplies. To observe social distancing, the number of volunteers must be limited and fewer people are able to be served. Where people once sat together for hot lunches, they now must grab takeout containers, and the packaging raises the cost of each meal.
BarBurrito's food drive initiative
BarBurrito aims to reduce the gap by partnering with local food banks across Canada to collect food and supplies for those in need. Every location (excluding mall locations) will set up bins and host a food drive to support a nearby charity until the end of the year.
To encourage donations from the community, customers will receive a contest entry for each contribution, with a chance to win an iPad Air, free burritos for a year, or one of ten $100 gift cards.
"We know a lot of people are struggling right now, and we want to do our part to show our appreciation to the communities who continue to support us during these difficult times," explains Alex Shtein, president and founder of BarBurrito Canada. "The need is great, but we believe the generosity of Canadians is greater."
Commonly requested items from food banks include pasta, pasta sauce, canned meats, nuts, soups, beans, canned vegetables and fruit, whole-grain cereal, shelf-stable milk, baby food and formula, diapers, toilet paper, and other personal hygiene products like shampoo, soap, and tampons. Check with your local food bank for a list of most-needed items.
Earlier this year, BarBurrito Canada raised funds to feed hospital workers at the height of the pandemic. They surpassed the $25,000 goal and matched it for a total of $50,000 to provide 10,000 meals to frontline health-care workers across the country. BarBurrito is a chain of 120 (and growing) fast-casual restaurants across Canada.
Alex Shtein founded the company in Toronto in 2005 when he saw a need for fresh, fast, high-quality Tex-Mex food. The brand operates coast-to-coast in Canada, as well as in Michigan, USA.