Photography courtesy Second Harvest
Among the companies that donated, Fody Food offers gut-friendly sauces and condiments for people who have IBS or are struggling with digestive issues. Three Farmers offers a variety of lentil and fava bean snacks. And Chickapea specializes in pasta made from chickpeas and lentils. “[Chickapea noodles] are great not just because of gluten intolerances but also because they’re high in protein and protein is an issue when you’re low-income,” says Nikkel. “It’s the most expensive food, so it’s the most limited food.”
For Dickinson, teaming up with Second Harvest was a natural fit. “I have a significant interest in food, food security, food safety and food accessibility in Canada – it’s what I focus on in my investing,” she says. “Second Harvest is doing such a good job of making sure that food is getting to people. So, it was just a natural fit for our organization to support what they’re trying to do.”
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It was also very personal. “I grew up very poor and food was not always something that we could put on the table,” says Dickinson, who immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age. “We had no money. Going to get groceries was not something you could predict every week or whenever we needed food. It happened whenever we could afford it. And so, I understand what it’s like to feel like you don’t have access to food as you need it.”
Ahead of Thanksgiving, District Ventures Capital and Second Harvest launched the “Give Thanks” campaign, which encourages food companies and Canadians to join the fight against food insecurity.
Nikkel notes that the food companies that contributed to the $50,000 donation are all small businesses, so the donation is significant for them. “We said, ‘if they could do it, can corporate Canada – big businesses – match that $50,000 worth of food?’” Nikkel says. “If you’re an individual, can you give $5 or $500?”
Dickinson adds: “I’m hoping corporate Canada steps up and I’m hoping individuals rally around it and say, ‘there is something we can do here.’ It’s easy to donate and it’s meaningful.”