Food banks are going back to good old fashioned paper coupons in an effort to get grocery shoppers donating more.
"Bring back the paper coupon," said Kelowna Community Food Bank executive director Vonnie Lavers.
"It's more visible. You actually have to tear it off from the stack at the cash register and you can tear two or three if you want to. The cashier can still ask you if you'd like to donate and point to the coupons. If one person tears off coupons then the shoppers behind them are more likely to as well."
Food Banks BC Sharing Coupons program has been run in conjunction with grocery stores around the province for some 15 years.
It started with the traditional paper coupons, but a few years ago switched to an electronic process.
The cashier asks shoppers if they would like to add a $2 donation for their local food bank to the bill.
If they said yes the cashier swiped a card, the $2 was added to the bill and that $2 was also set aside for the food bank.
"In recent years there's been a decline in donations," said David Kropp, the communications manager at Penticton-based Valley First Credit Union.
"It might be the electronic process, it might be competition for charity dollars has become stiffer and it might be because awareness has waned a bit."
The provincial program's revamp will be officially announced at at a news conference today in Kelowna.
Laura Lansink, the executive director of Food Banks BC, and Paulette Rennie, the president of Valley First, will be making announcements.
Lansink is expected to outline the switch back to paper coupons along with a renewed push to make them highly visible at cash registers in grocery stores.
The credit union started its Feed the Valley initiative three-and-a-half years ago with a goal to raise $100,000 a year for 10 years for food banks in the areas where it has branches.
Lavers said the sharing coupons program works well because grocery stores keep track of the donations and the food bank gets the value in gift cards monthly or quarterly from the store,
The food bank in turn uses those gift cards to buy the items it needs at a discount.
"The items will go into hampers for families with children or our tiny bundles for babies."
The coupon program also ties into the awareness grocery stores generate by putting 'most needed' shelf signs beside items that food banks most need.
Food banks always need cash donations and donations of peanut butter; canned meats, vegetables and fruits; dried pasta and sauces; diapers; baby formula and juices.