Amazon Canada employees volunteer with food banks, gather donations to support vulnerable Canadians as part of Amazon's Global Month of Volunteering
Employees are leading an effort to assist the record number of Canadians using food banks amid soaring housing costs, inflation, and stagnant incomes.
TORONTO, Aug. 17, 2022 /CNW/ - Amazon has launched its Global Month of Volunteering, a month-long initiative dedicated to driving meaningful impact in the communities where Amazon employees live and work around the world. From August 15 to September 16, Amazon employees will volunteer with organizations and causes they're passionate about to further engage with their own communities. In Canada, Amazon employees have rallied to support food banks and help meet the critical needs of families as Canada's food banks experience spiking demand. In May, food banks reported about 160,000 monthly visits; before the pandemic, the average monthly number was about 60,000.
Amazon employees behind this initiative want to engage hundreds of their colleagues to donate time, food, and funds to eight foodbanks in Beauharnois, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. Recognizing the importance of the employee-led initiative, Amazon Canada also committed to donate $80,000 to the food banks.
"Lacking access to food, as one of the basic human needs, impacts physical and mental health of families and children. The rising inflation we are witnessing in Canada contributes to insecurity and hunger at a scale that we have not seen in a long time," said Kate Ramanchuk, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) territory account manager in Toronto who helped organize the volunteer program. "Food banks are crucial in addressing this need, and at Amazon, we are grateful to have an opportunity to partner with eight food banks across Canada to make a positive impact on our local communities."
Marie-Josée Warrant, the enterprise sales rep for AWS in Montreal, is also leading the initiative. She said: "We felt that rallying hundreds of Canadian employees during Global Month of Volunteering could greatly assist this cause. Not only are employees volunteering, but they also contribute via non-perishable food and monetary donations, which will go a long way in the fight against hunger here in Canada."
Local food banks say these efforts make a significant difference in their communities. "The volunteer hours from Amazon Canada's employees are invaluable, as the program has been structured to rely quite heavily on volunteer corporate participation to assist with some of the key daily operations of the program, like sorting and packing donated food," said Emilie Gamelin, manager of corporate partnerships for Red Cross Toronto.
"As our client roster has almost doubled within the past year, it is even more essential that our two fulltime warehouse staff receive support," Gamelin added. "Based on observed productivity in the warehouse operations, it has been determined that the total time three volunteers participate is equivalent to one fulltime paid staff hour. All monetary donations received are a huge assist to the operational costs of the program, as the Mobile Food Bank does not generate any income from the services provided to the community we support."
"Every day in the news we hear about the challenges a lot of families are going through. I wanted to help and knew that a lot of colleagues felt the same," Ramanchuk said. "Leading Global Volunteering Month in Canada allows me to make an impact and enable my amazing colleagues with a platform to volunteer. Since this initiative was launched internally, we have received an incredible amount of support from hundreds of people. I see this engagement as the first of many that we will continue to drive across the country."
According to research conducted this year on behalf of Food Banks Canada:
Local efforts with impact
Amazon Canada has partnered with Moisson Sud Ouest in Beauharnois, Moisson Québec, Moisson Montréal, the Ottawa Foodbank, the Red Cross in Toronto, Second Harvest in Toronto, the Calgary Foodbank, and the Greater Vancouver Foodbank. From August 15 to September 16, Amazon Canada is donating $80,000 to these food banks in addition to the dry goods donated by Amazon employees and their volunteer hours to support help local families.
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SOURCE Amazon Canada