On December 19, residents, City staff , OC Transpo and Loblaw company stores came together to ensure that the 36th annual ‘Fill the Bus’ food drive was a success. It is Ottawa’s largest single-day grocery store food drive. The numbers are in. Thanks to the many who donated food and money, 126,427 pounds of food and $24,000 was collected for the Ottawa Food Bank – keeping the shelves stocked for the coming Holiday Season.
In a challenging year, many people more than ever have struggled to make ends meet and have turned to food bank for help. As in past years, OC Transpo buses and volunteers were located outside participating Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Your Independent Grocer and No Frills locations in Ottawa to remind customers about the food drive. This year contact was reduced to help everyone keep a safe distance. All the food items collected were delivered directly to the Ottawa Food Bank, FAMSAC Food Cupboard, Stittsville Food Bank, and the Kanata Food Cupboard.
“This year has been extremely challenging for so many Ottawa residents. Struggling to put food on the table for the holiday season shouldn’t be something they have to worry about. I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to the many volunteers who came out to help their neighbours who find themselves in a less fortunate situation. OC Transpo and City of Ottawa employees have upheld the spirit of the season by once again lending their support to the 36th annual OC Transpo/Loblaw Christmas Food Drive. I would also like to commend our partners at Loblaw Companies Limited and the Ottawa Food Bank, and the kind donors whose contributions make this food drive a great success, year after year.” said Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
Rachael Wilson, Interim CEO at the Ottawa Food Bank added, “We are so grateful to OC Transpo, the City of Ottawa, and Loblaw banner stores across the city for their leadership and commitment to this community. Their teams adapted to the changing environment and pulled off an incredibly successful food drive. The generosity of our community means so much to us and the network of food banks with whom we partner across the city. It also means there will be food on tables right across this city, in time for the holidays and into the new year. You have shown neighbours in Ottawa that you care. Thank you!”
City employees also contributed to the total amount collected by generously donating through an internal virtual campaign, which ran from November 23 to December 18.
To date, this food drive has raised over three million pounds of food and thousands of dollars for Ottawa’s most vulnerable residents. OC Transpo is proud to have been associated with the Ottawa Food Bank since its first year of existence. OC Transpo’s first food drive was in 1984 – the same year the Ottawa Food Bank was founded. It is the longest running and most successful food drive in Ottawa.