Sask. Residents use Moe-Bucks to donate $75,000 to local charities

More than a third of the donations - $28,000 - went to organizations working on food insecurity.  (Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC - photo credit)

More than a third of the donations – $28,000 – went to organizations working on food insecurity. (Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC – photo credit)

A group of Saskatchewan residents decided in the fall to poke Moe bucks toward more trouble.

The 500 Club, a fundraiser, encouraged people who are financially stable enough to donate the $500 they received from the provincial government to a local charity.

According to a press release from the 500 Club, 147 people pledged a total of $75,075 from October through December last year.

“We’re excited that people have come together and made their pledges and donations,” said Nicole Berg, co-founder of the group.

“It hasn’t solved any of our deepest problems here in the fabric of our society. But it draws on that generosity, that community spirit that exists in our province.”

In the fall, the provincial government sent checks for $500 to adult taxpayers to help them better afford the rising cost of living caused by inflation. The money was sent regardless of a person’s income.

Founders of the 500 Clubs, a bipartisan initiative, wanted to give money back to the community.

People could promise $100 to $1,000. Campaign organizers didn’t touch any of the money, Berg said, relying instead on people honoring what they pledged to donate.

In all, people pledged money to 97 organizations — most of which were in Saskatoon or Regina, according to the 500 Club. But organizations in several rural communities in Saskatchewan also received donations.

More than a third of the money – $28,000 – has been pledged to organizations working on food insecurity.

“It’s a really great testament to our community sticking together during difficult times,” said John Bailey, CEO of Regina Food Bank. The 500 Club said $5,250 had been pledged to the organization.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for food banks has increased significantly.

In the fiscal year before the pandemic, the Regina Food Bank served about 86,000 people, Bailey said. With more than a month left in the current fiscal year, the food bank is on track for 145,000-150,000.

“Our new baseline is significantly higher than before,” he said.

“We are still seeing a steady increase in demand. We don’t see really big jumps like at the beginning of the pandemic, but we don’t see a decline either.”

The money donated to the Regina Food Bank can be stretched widely, with $1 getting about three meals, Bailey said.


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