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Industry NewsBen's Original launches programs for underserved Canadian communities

Ben’s Original launches programs for underserved Canadian communities

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Ben’s Original has announced two initiatives to support communities across Canada. The “Be an After-School Hero” program will deliver up to 200,000 meals to Canadian families in need.

The brand’s Seat at the Table Fund, which aims to create equitable opportunities for students who identify as Black, Indigenous or Persons of Colour pursuing careers in the food industry, is officially open for applications.

The “Be An After-School Hero” Program works through community outreach programs around the world to ensure underserved communities have access to nutritious meals.

From August 15 to October 10, for every purchase of Ben’s Original rice products, the brand will donate $1 to Food Banks Canada to support Canadians facing food insecurity, up to $100,000 which can provide 200,000 meals.

“We’re very happy to work with Food Banks Canada to support families in need,” said Eric Huston, general manager, Mars Food Canada. “Through this partnership, we’re bringing to life our commitment to work toward a more equitable future and to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.”

Food Banks Canada’s data shows that one in five Canadians now report going hungry—with 23 per cent reporting they are eating less “than they should.”

The “Seat At the Table” Fund is now accepting candidate applications; the scholarship program creates opportunities for students from under-represented and equity-deserving communities who aspire to build careers in the food industry. Established through a $200,000 commitment by the brand announced in fall 2021, the needs-based awards are designed to help BIPOC students overcome financial barriers and positively affect pathways to employment within the food industry.

The Seat at the Table™ Fund awards will be available to students enrolled or accepted into culinary arts, baking, pastry or catering programs at Vancouver Community College (B.C.), Humber College (Ont.), Centennial College (Ont.) and Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (Que.). Qualified candidates must identify as BIPOC and demonstrate financial need to complete their education. Each institution will administer and award five $5,000 awards annually over the next two academic years, beginning with the Fall 2022 semester. Interested students can contact their Financial Aid department for application dates and process.

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