A Cermaq Canada employee undertook a cycling activity with his children and participated in the ‘fitness for food banks’ program. (Submitted photo)

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

B.C. aquaculture company, Cermaq Canada, has got its work-from-home employees breaking into a sweat for a cause.

The ‘fitness to food banks’ program that will run from May 11 to Aug. 31, has more than 30 employees clocking in their daily fitness and has already raised $3,300 within two weeks.

With a goal to raise and donate $5,000 every month to local food banks in communities where Cermaq Canada has operations, the company will track fitness records of participating employees and donate $1 for every five minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise.

The brainchild of Shannan Brown, people and culture director at Cermaq Canada, the program was developed to keep employees physically and mentally motivated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With almost 70 people working from home, Brown was “concerned” about their mental health and wanted to create an engaging solution for them to deal with the stress and emotions inflicted by the “changes that the pandemic brought into their daily lives.”

At the same time, Brown also felt that this program could fit well within the framework of a social cause such as food distribution, like the one the company undertook last month with salmon farmers across B.C., when they donated 60000 pounds of salmon to food banks.

READ MORE: B.C. salmon farmers donate 60,000 pounds of canned salmon to food banks

She developed a formula for connecting the two causes, employee well being and food distribution, and got employees to register on ParticipACTION, the app launched by the government of Canada to promote healthy living and physical fitness.

Brown said that the goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of August and split the amount between food banks in Richmond, Duncan, Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, Comox Valley, Campbell River and Port McNeill.

Although initially the program was developed for the employees working from home, Brown said that others employees too wanted to join in and contribute towards the cause.

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