A pipeline for food donation is being laid by Bluewater Pipe, its drainage contractors, clients, and food producers.
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Tony Kime, Bluewater Pipe president, has set aside a five-figure amount to match donations from contributors but is also inviting his two competitors to join in the giving.
“That would mean three of us were putting money into the pot, plus drainage contractors and farmers,” said Kime. “I suspect most of the people I’m appealing to are already donating time, food, or money because rural Canada is community-based, and we grew up learning to take care of people around us.”
Bluewater Pipe’s reach stretches throughout Elgin, Middlesex, Perth, Oxford, Bruce, Peterborough and even into the Ottawa Valley. He hopes to leverage funds by working with food producers to buy products at cost.
“We need to figure out how to help people who need help and do it well,” he said. “And take the profit out of it.”
He said that grocery stores that promote food bank drives make upwards of 40 cents on the dollar but don’t offer any discounts for donated food, which would allow people to make more significant contributions.
“That’s money wasted as far as getting food to people who need it,” he said. “Whoever wants to match dollar-for-dollar the money I set aside, we can leverage our relationships in food production . . . to buy it (food) at cost, or less than cost. So we get a heck of a lot more miles out of the dollar.”
Twenty-five years ago, his father, Grant, wanted to fill a transport truck full of food. They accomplished the goal with predominately Ontario-made products within a dozen phone calls to co-business owners, wealthy residents, and farmers.
It was Kime’s inspiration when he partnered with Glenn Hayter of A.G. Hayter Contracting to raise funds last year. He then connected with Tom Hayter, Hayter’s Turkey Farms and Van Osch Farms and used the money to buy protein at cost and delivered it all to the Huron and Middlesex County food banks.
Kime will handle the logistics of touching base with the foodbanks to get a list of products they need, collect the goods, and deliver it to the food banks in each county covered by Bluewater Pipe contractors.
“Those of us who have gotten through the last three years in agribusiness have actually done okay, and there’s a lot of people who haven’t,” he said. “Right now, food is something that is needed and expensive. So although the food bank needs stuff all year round, now’s a good time to be helping them top up the coffers.”
Those interested in contributing or farmers interested in donating food products can contact Kime via telephone at 226-245-2111 or by email at [email protected].
Kime said the fundraising would continue until he maxes out the matching donation amount, but anyone is welcome to add to the pot to maximize the fundraiser’s reach.