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25,000 "Energy GreenBoxes™" delivered to Ontario low-income families through Ontario's food banks

Thursday, December 6th 2007 11:30:28am

Attention News, Community and Assignment Editors

25,000 "Energy GreenBoxes™" delivered to Ontario low-income families through Ontario's food banks

(Toronto, December 6, 2007) This holiday season, Friends of the Earth Canada (FOE Canada) and the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) are helping low-income families save money and energy while improving the comfort of their homes. Food Bank clients in Ajax, Barrie, Beamsville, Brampton, Lindsay, Mississauga, Niagara Falls, North York, Oshawa, Ottawa, Pickering, Peterborough, St. Catharines and Whitby will be receiving an Energy GreenBox™ that contains important energy saving items. Separate community launch events will take place in these locations throughout December.

Each box contains energy saving items to seal windows, doors, electrical outlets and switch plates, and help keep the cold out and the heat in. As program sponsor, Enbridge Gas Distribution is also providing eligible customers free products such as programmable thermostats through the TAPS program (Thermostats, Aerators, Pipewrap and Showerheads). In select communities, local utilities and Project Porchlight* will provide energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.

"Reducing energy use is one way we can all tackle climate change. We are pleased to team up with the Ontario Association of Food Banks for a second year to offer the Energy GreenBox™, which will help those families trying to make ends meet, by getting the tools to save money and energy into their hands and helping them do their part to fight climate change," said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada.

Families living in poverty often consume more energy for home heating because of poor housing conditions.  Consequently, energy costs represent a disproportionate share of household spending for low-income families and a tremendous burden for Ontarians served by food banks.  Low-income households in Ontario spend six times the proportion of their household income on electricity alone when compared to the highest income earners.

"Often, tens of thousands of parents are forced to turn to food banks in Ontario because the cost associated with keeping their kids warm at home overwhelms their ability to feed their kids. Climate change makes it harder for families to know when the heating or hydro bill will be big or small," said Adam Spence, Executive Director, OAFB.  "The Energy GreenBox™ program is an important and popular addition to our services. We are very pleased to be a partner and to help grow the program by 25% over last year."

"As a leader in energy efficiency programs, Enbridge Gas Distribution is a proud founding sponsor of the Energy GreenBox™ program," said Glenn Beaumont, Vice President, Planning & Opportunity Development, Enbridge Gas Distribution. "We're sensitive to the needs of our customers and are pleased to help them reduce their energy costs this winter and beyond."

Peter Love, Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer, helped launch the campaign by presenting Certificates of Recognition to Energy GreenBox™ sponsors for their efforts to foster energy conservation. "The Energy GreenBox™ is an inspired idea, a practical and common sense concept that puts useful products into the hands of people who can most benefit from reduced energy bills," said Mr. Love.  "I commend the OAFB, Enbridge, and FOE Canada for not only making the program work, but making it bigger and better."

Friends of the Earth Canada is a voice for the environment, working nationally and internationally to inspire the renewal of communities and the earth through research, education and advocacy.  It is a member of the 70 country strong FOE International. Visit www.foecanada.org.

The Ontario Association of Food Banks is a network of over 100 food banks including communities across the province from Ottawa to Windsor, and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay. Visit www.oafb.ca.

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For more information, high resolution photos or to arrange interviews contact:

Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, 416-972-7401, laderoutej(at)huffstrategy.com.

*Project Porchlight is a campaign run by One Change, a small not-for-profit group with a big idea: to show Canadians how anyone can use less electricity, save on rising energy costs, and help make the planet a nicer place for our children. Project Porchlight's goal is to get every household in Canada to make that first change and replace one old-fashioned, inefficient incandescent to an energy-efficient CFL bulb. Visit www.projectporchlight.com