Calgary launches new pay-it-forward food initiative
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
In partnership with Calgary’s Business Sector Task Force member Julie Van Rosendaal, the city introduces a new food initiative called The Giving Wall. From participating restaurants, coffee shops and cafes, customers can buy a meal or gift card for someone who may not be able to afford it.
Each participating establishment will have a wall where gift cards or receipts are placed for anyone to take. These gift cards or receipts contain an extra menu item pre-purchased by a customer specifically for this cause and for someone needy to take advantage of it. Restaurants can also have the option to add a gift card for online orders or a pre-paid tab for anyone coming in.
Van Rosendaal, who is also a local food writer, says in a press release from the city that all the small businesses are so willing to put in the effort to keep the community well-fed. According to her, one of the goals of the initiative is to also support the restaurants and cafes by drawing in more customers who also want to participate.
“The fact that the funds are going through the restaurants and helping them stay afloat which helps people stay employed and further prevents food insecurities.”, she added.
Children who are separated from food supports at their schools can also benefit from this initiative.
“I’m particularly worried about kids who are separated from their food supports at school right now and that’s almost 200,000 kids throughout the city. A lot of them are mobile, can move around and hop on their bikes and walk into a restaurant or coffee shop and access a meal if they need one.”, she said.
La Boulangerie co-owner Shosh Cohen says that participating in the initiative gave them a chance to pay back to the community who was with them the whole time.
“I hope to see more good things happening, just like a domino effect. We will give some and then some others will give to others. It can only cause good things.” Cohen added.
The Business Sector Task Force is a group provided by the Calgary government in partnership with business stakeholders from different industries to help businesses during the pandemic. It serves as a venue for businesses to share their needs, be offered marketing support, be offered recommendations and more.