Farm Credit Canada is a big agricultural money lender that would keep doing business even if it just collected interest and ignored the community.

But like some other major financial corporations – Scotiabank comes to mind immediately – FCC chooses not to do that. It chooses to give back in a number of ways, most notably through its annual Drive Away Hunger campaign, its flagship community investment program; since 2004, the effort has provided more than 40 million meals to the hungry.

The 14th edition of the fall campaign recently concluded. Canada’s leading agricultural lender, FCC launched it by contributing $100,000 to school meal programs across the country, followed by its tractor and wagon collection of items and cash for local food banks.

Once again, Eastern Ontario was a focal point with FCC staff circulating to pick up locations such as North Dundas District High School near Chesterville where students gathered 770 pounds of non-perishable food. Similar collections were made at other area schools and the process was repeated throughout Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Prior to the 2017 launch, FCC president Michael Hoffort said the goal was to collect the equivalent of five million meals for food banks and other programs. Instead, the final tally was more than 7.2 million meals, clearing show both the determination of FCC and the generosity of Canadians. Hunger touches more than 860,000 Canadians each month, many of them children, Hoffort emphasized.

“Every meal is a step toward a better future for someone who truly needs a helping hand,” said Hoffort in a statement that would sound maudlin if it wasn’t true. He thanked partners such as producers, students and other donation collectors, and food bank volunteers for making the project so successful.

“Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and its role of feeding an ever-growing world.” Once again, corny but true.

This newspaper has attended many phases of the FCC food drive over the years and has always been impressed by the enthusiasm all concerned, from corporation staff, to student and teacher volunteers, working together for a common cause.

Sure, it can be dismissed as a PR stunt. However, the next time you unthinkingly blast big business as usurious and uncaring – and there are plenty of examples – remember the Drive Away Hunger campaign.