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Keeping food on the table: P.E.I. company spreads donations tip-to-tip

Andrea MacDonald, left, with United Way and Kathy Jones with Family Services P.E.I. accept a recent donation from P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company’s CEO Blair Campbell, back left, and board chairman Brian Annear. P.E.I. Mutual has donated $52,000 to local food banks and to Family Services P.E.I. to help Islanders make it through the pandemic.
Andrea MacDonald, left, with United Way and Kathy Jones with Family Services P.E.I. accept a recent donation from P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company’s CEO Blair Campbell, back left, and board chairman Brian Annear. P.E.I. Mutual has donated $52,000 to local food banks and to Family Services P.E.I. to help Islanders make it through the pandemic. - Contributed

A local business has eased the minds of food bank operators and a not-for-profit on the Island this past summer with a series of donations.

P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company wanted to help Islanders impacted by the pandemic and chose projects centered on support, resiliency and recovery.

“We were recognizing there were new challenges for Islanders,” said Blair Campbell, CEO of P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company. “Early on with the shut-down, everyone was affected directly.” 

To boost the donations, the company’s reinsurer, Farm Mutual Re, matched dollars with the P.E.I. office.

“The first thing we thought was, people may need food,” he said. “So, we reached out to the food banks. The food banks are a little nervous they will not have the resources to support some of the new needs out there.”

To support Islanders during the pandemic, the insurance company donated $21,000 to five food banks across the Island.


At a glance

P.E.I. Mutual will be focusing on further recovery support as the pandemic continues to unfold.  

So far, it has been able to send donations to the following organizations:

  • West Prince Caring Cupboard: $5,000
  • Summerside Salvation Army Food Bank: $5,000
  • Upper Room Food Bank in Charlottetown: $5,000
  • Montague Food Bank: $4,000
  • Souris Food Bank: $2,000
  • Family Services P.E.I.: $31,000
  • Total Donations to date: $52,000

Mike MacDonald, executive director with the Upper Room in Charlottetown, said that donations are down, food drives are in question and need has increased. The donation was very much welcomed. 

Mike MacDonald, executive director of Upper Room Hospitality Ministry - SaltWire file
Mike MacDonald, executive director of Upper Room Hospitality Ministry - SaltWire file

To help Islanders build resiliency, Campbell and his team decided to help out Family Services P.E.I.

“The demand for services had increased and, like all not-for-profits, they’re wondering where their next funding is coming from. So, the staff is working harder and, of course, dealing with the pandemic themselves,” said Campbell.

P.E.I. Mutual made the $31,000 donation to the United Way who will distribute and keep track of the funds, said Campbell. 

Family Services P.E.I. was able to hire an additional counsellor and expand their mental health counselling services which are available to Islanders across the province both in person and online.

Andrea MacDonald, CEO of the United Way of P.E.I., said one of the key concerns continues to be around mental health during COVID-19. The demand for services has been growing rapidly and is already outstripping capacity.

Cathy Jones, executive director of the Family Services Bureau, said it will help people to provide further counselling services to Islanders and reduce the mounting strain on existing staff. 

"Islanders are resilient. With a little help they are able to move forward in their lives."

Alison Jenkins is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

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