September 4, 2018 8:49 pm
Updated: September 4, 2018 8:51 pm

How a group of immigrants rescue ‘best before’ food destined for the dump and put it to good use

WATCH: A group of recent arrivals to Canada is giving perfectly good food destined for the garbage dump, to people who need a helping hand. Tanya Beja has the story.

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A group of new immigrants to Canada are giving back to their community by using food that would otherwise be thrown into the trash.

Igor Bjelac moved to Canada from Serbia three years ago and says he was shocked to learn this country throws out billions of dollars of food each year.

READ MORE: Canadians don’t understand best-before dates, which leads to more food waste: report

“When I see this amount [of food] which is ending in the garbage, my heart is breaking,” he said.

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While Bjelac was learning English in Coquitlam, he and his classmates came up with a plan.

The two dozen immigrants and refugees from 11 countries go to grocery stores every week and pick up boxes of produce, meat, dairy and treats about to reach their best-before dates.

READ MORE: ‘We are among the worst of any developed nation in the world:’ Metro Vancouver food waste reduction program goes national

Volunteers deliver the food to local shelters and schools where it’s used for breakfast and hot-lunch programs and sent home to families in need.

Bjelac also delivers groceries to refugees and immigrants so they can lower their bills while they look for work.

He says diverting food from the dump has helped him “connect with Canada” and is also “the perfect way to contribute to local communities and give back a little bit to Canada, which has welcomed us.”

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