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Small Businesses Across the Prairies Help Food Banks Meet Increased Demand Driven by the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 14, 2020

Toronto, May 14, 2020 – It’s estimated that, even in prosperous times, more than one million Canadians rely on food banks every month. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting effects on the economy have exacerbated the situation to the point where food banks are facing unprecedented demand.

For this reason, many local businesses across the prairies are stepping up to help food banks in their communities. Toyota dealers across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, for example, have already provided $158,500 – including a corporate match by Toyota Canada - to their local food banks. And that number is growing.

“More than ever, people in our communities need our support and Toyota dealers across the Prairies know that donating to our local food banks is an excellent way to help,” said David Lee, Zone Manager with Toyota Canada. “As an organization with dealer partners in so many communities across the Prairies, we’re grateful that we can help so many Canadians in this time of need.”

In Manitoba, the donations have topped $22,000.

“The people of Manitoba are quick to help their neighbours and, with so many people needing help at the moment, we’re glad we can make a difference,” said Dave Zulak, General Manager at Birchwood Toyota in Winnipeg. “It’s been great to work with Toyota Canada to make our contribution go farther, too. A guiding Toyota principle has always been to contribute both to economic and social development through corporate activities. We’re just delighted we can help provide food security to those who need it most.”

Toyota dealers in Saskatchewan have donated $15,000 to local food banks so far.

“We divided our donation between our local food bank and a local women’s shelter,” said Evan Ortynsky, Dealer Principal at Yorkton Toyota in Saskatchewan. “We know there are a lot of people in need of food and shelter during this pandemic, and these are two areas where we are grateful we can help.”

In Alberta, Toyota dealers have already contributed more than $121,500, including a previously reported $60,000 in Calgary.

“Toyota Dealers in Alberta are a family and we’re proud to be the community ‘face’ of Toyota – so it was easy to come together and coordinate our efforts to help people in all of our communities across The Prairies”, said Chris Schulz, General Manager at Gateway Toyota in Edmonton. “Food banks quickly emerged as the charities where our contribution could make an immediate and important difference in our own back yards.”

In response to COVID-19, Toyota Canada recently launched a donation matching program to encourage its dealers to determine how best to support their local communities. The company has committed up to a million dollars to the program, and the vast majority of funds donated to date have gone to food banks and food security programs. Over the past few weeks, Toyota – along with its dealers and employees – have already contributed more than $750,000.

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