Sask Valley Foodgrains Bank has deep roots in region

Dozens of people lined up to enjoy a home-cooked perogy and sausage meal at the Brian King Centre during the annual Sask Valley Foodgrains Bank fundraising supper on Friday, March 9

The Sask Valley Foodgrains Bank typically generates about $100,000 annually to Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) projects worldwide, according to Rick Block, who along with his wife Jacquie, shares the role of CFGB Saskatchewan Regional Representative.
“There are 26 registered projects across Saskatchewan that generate about $1 million every year to the CFGB,” said Block in an interview just prior to a fundraising supper at the Brian King Centre in Warman on Friday, Mach 9. “Saskatchewan over the past year has generated $2 million in total, so those projects account for about half the overall total.”
Block said the funds, which are “leveraged” up to four times by matching grants from government, are used to help alleviate hunger and famine around the world.
The fundraising supper in Warman on March 9 drew a massive crowd, as usual. The supper is held annually to help defray costs for something even bigger: a massive auction held on a farm between Hague and Osler every June. By the time the matching grants are added in to the total raised at that farm auction, the Sask Valley Foodgrains Bank contribution amounts to almost half a million dollars toward the national CFGB fundraising campaign.
“That’s very significant,” said Block. “The Foodgrains bank has very deep roots in this area. It’s a cultural thing that spans the generations. We see people of all ages helping out with these projects.
“I think these events pass on some very important values frmm one generation to the next.”
The CFGB is currently working in 35 countries, including eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East, and southeast Asia. There are also projects in Colombia, Honduras and Haiti.
Block said while raising funds to alleviate famine is a high priority, the CFGB also focuses on educational work and promotes partnerships between countries.
He noted that while individual donations are important, the funds raised through collective, community-based activities are “absolutely vital” to the work of the CFGB.
“There is something very important, and also something very beautiful, that comes from people who are working together to help those who are in need,” said Block. “That collective experience in donor countries is mirrored in the experience of people in recipient countries as well.
“Those who are together in a time of suffering or a time of need, are also working together to alleviate their situations.”