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York Region food bank starts new campaign amid drop in donations

Monetary donations were down 55 per cent in April 2022 when compared to April 2021
2022 06 28 Ali Bashar
FBYR volunteer Ali Bashar who is able to be involved through online fundraising after a car accident kept him from the warehouse.

There's a new option for fundraising at Food Banks of York Region (FBYR) with the launch of online campaigns as donations dip compared to last year. 

Now FBYR has a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and a digital toolkit to help with online fundraisers to boost monetary donations that have dropped 55 per cent from April 2021 to April 2022. 

“Monetary donations are just not coming in like they used too, and we are not generating the same monetary support to keep up with the growth of our non-profit and all our programs and services,” said Alex Bilotta, founder and CEO. 

While donations have dropped, the number of people needing services has gone up. 

“We’ve grown 70 per cent larger from the beginning of COVID-19 in the amount of people we are feeding. We did get some funding support for the duration of the pandemic, but we used those funds on building services and purchasing food so we could keep up with the increase in demand of people accessing food support. Those funds have since depleted, but that demand for food security is still there and has only gone down 6 per cent since the pandemic,” Bilotta said. 

To combat this FBYR has launched the virtual fundraising campaign and encourages residents to take part by creating their own online page. It said the process is so simple that seven-year-old Remy Dastranj of Markham was able to create his own page with the help of his parents and has already raised $250. 

To create your own page, go to the website, insert your personal information to create a page, personalize with photographs and messages about why you are fundraising, and then all you have to do is spread the word on social media and to your friends and family. 

One FBYR volunteer said he is happy to participate online after a car accident in 2021 prevented him from helping out in person. 

“This new virtual fundraising campaign allows me to feel involved in the process of fighting hunger again,” said Ali Bashar. “Food security has always been an important cause to me, and I am so happy that there’s now a new way for me to help, right from home. I’m glad to be back and supporting the FBYR, and they really need the help. They’ve done so much great work for those who need it most, so I want to make sure I can do everything I can to support them continuing their mission to end hunger in York Region.”

For every $1 raised, FBYR is able to provide three meals for people in need. A $25 donation can result in 75 school-safe snacks for an elementary school. Meanwhile every $75 raised means two weeks worth of meals for a family of four. 

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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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