Surplus food from the Site C work camp will be diverted away from the landfill and picked up by the Salvation Army instead as part of a new initiative announced Tuesday.
The camp makes up to 5,000 meals a day for Site C workers, and diverting the excess food will help to feed the city's most vulnerable children, adults, and seniors with more than 100 meals a day, officials said.
"With a fluctuating guest population, inevitably we have leftover food at the end of each day," said Brian Hussain of ATCO Two Rivers, noting the initiative was made possible by B.C.'s Food Donor Encouragement Act.
"We look forward to making a positive impact here in Fort St. John with this program."
The City of Fort St. John facilitated the partnership with the Salvation Army, ATCO Two Rivers, and BC Hydro through its work with the National Zero Waste Council.
Mayor Lori Ackerman said the initiative is a significant opportunity to feed vulnerable populations young and old while diverting waste from the landfill.
It's also an initiative she hopes will serve as a model for work camps across Northeast B.C.
"This is pretty much the only region in B.C. that has a proliferation of camps, so we're able to do this," Ackerman said.
"As we've been talking about this opportunity and project, I'm also talking to other camps, other camp companies about the opportunity to take this.
"I look forward to this happening right across this region with every camp and every community," she said.
The initiative expands on the Salvation Army's existing perishable food recovery program, launched in 2018 and which already collects 10,000 pounds of fresh food per month from local grocers for the food bank.
This new initiative propels that program to a new level, executive director Cameron Eggie said.
"The addition of 100 to 200 meals a day, it's going to impact everyone in our community," Eggie said.
"We support seniors, we support school programs, we support a recovery centre for women. This food will be influxed into those existing programs; the infrastructure and logistics are already there."
BC Hydro President Chris O'Riley, who was in town Tuesday to speak at a Chamber luncheon, said he was impressed to see local leaders take up the initiative.
"It's a fantastic way to reduce the amount of waste at the site as well as benefit people who need it in the community," O'Riley said.
"We're all about building community here as part of the project, strengthening community, and this is really an excellent example. I'm really impressed with the work that has been done."
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