Port Saint John, a major economic driver in the region, is positioned for growth but also recognizes the important role we must play in our community’s social wellbeing. Saint John has the highest rates of poverty in the country and half of this poverty is concentrated in the 5 neighborhoods which surround the Port. The need to break the cycle of generational poverty is a significant part of our community outreach efforts and part of wider collaborative community objective.
Food security is an issue in our region where 1/3 of foodbank users in our Province are children. To combat food insecurity, Port Saint John supports 3 major initiatives through both in-kind and monetary donations. Additionally, many members of our team provide leadership in various business anti-poverty community initiatives.
- The Harbour Lights Campaign: An annual collaboration with CBC now in its 25th year has raised more than $3 million dollars for 14 food banks in our region.
- Cold Storage Distribution Centre: Provision of space at the Port for a large custom built commercial grade freezer installed in 2018. This location is now the distribution center for frozen and dry goods for 15 foodbanks.
- Provision of Facility for Emergency Food Program during 1st COVID-19 lockdown. The Greater Saint John Emergency Food Program, a multi-agency collaboration, was in high demand at the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak. Port Saint John provided both a monetary donation and physical space to carry out their work. One of our cruise terminals became a distribution center where volunteers sorted, packed, and delivered groceries.
The impact of these initiatives is measured by the poverty rate in our region. Since these efforts began, it has been reduced but remains high, indicating poverty reduction efforts still require support.