People with masks practising physical distancing outside a grocery store

BMO team hosts Virtual Food Drive for Vancouver Food Bank


Every day, Vancouver-area Branch Manager Raj Janda and her team see directly the impact the current pandemic crisis is having on their customers. “We see our neighbours, elderly people, young people, having a tough time. Many are out of work due to COVID-19, and struggling just putting food on the table for their families,” says Raj, “I feel so lucky to be healthy, to have the ability to support my family, but knowing that other can’t, I felt I needed to do something.”

Raj was familiar with the importance of food banks because of canned food drives run by her children’s school, so helping with food insecurity was top of mind for her. Raj researched how to run a virtual food drive, and quickly found that the Greater Vancouver Food Bank offered an easy way to fundraise through social media. “Food banks rely on donations, and they can do a lot quickly with the funds,” she explains, “Every dollar you donate, they can turn into three dollars through their ability to purchase food more cost effectively. That’s a great return on investment that benefits our communities so significantly.”

After experimenting with launching a virtual drive on her own social accounts as a personal project, Raj mentioned it to her Regional Vice President, Rob Parrott. He suggested that by expanding the effort as a team across bankers throughout suburban Vancouver, they could go bigger to support the community. Raj and Rob created a new group food drive account and invited their local colleagues to become a part of it. They shared it on social media, and promoted it with colleagues in conference calls and email. She reports, “Within minutes of sharing the news, money was pouring in, and within 24 hours we had exceeded our goal of $4000—by 20%!” Over the next two weeks, they reached a total of more than $8,000—and counting—to support the Vancouver Food Bank’s critical work.  For Rob, it was gratifying to see how the entire team across the market combined forces. He explains, “It’s amazing how our entire Vancouver Suburban Market Branch Manager team got behind it – they are the ones that shared with the broader team, and gave this scale. It created a real impact.”

Raj’s colleagues have expressed to her how gratified they are to be able to make a difference in this rapid and highly impactful way. For the Vancouver Food Bank, it’s a very welcome gesture at a time of great need. “As our traditional food drives and fundraising events have been postponed or cancelled within the current health crisis, the Virtual Food Drive (VFD) has been a hugely popular way to support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank,” said Cynthia Boulter, Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, “The VFD is a fun and secure way to support us by purchasing fresh and healthy food for those in need. With our 3:1 buying power, your donations will go a long way.”

Learn more about how to start a virtual food drive with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.



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