Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend and it always serves as a reminder that poverty and hunger are not just a third world problem. Food Banks Canada reports that 900,000 people use food banks each month and 38% of those are children and youth. In stark contrast to the stereotype, many of these families are not unemployed but their salary is not enough to cover all basic necessities and food.
What I find most concerning is that food banks are facing a real shortage and according to Hunger Count 35% of food banks run out of food and 55% have to limit the amount of food each household receives.
It is important to note that food bank organizations offer other programs to help fight hunger too like community gardens, snack programs and soup kitchens.
How can you help? It doesn’t take much to ensure that families in your city are getting enough to eat.
– Consider making a high-need food bank items staples on your grocery list. Many grocers have collection bins for non-perishable donations and so do many neighbourhood fire halls.
– Make a cash donation. For every $1 donated a food bank is able to generate $8 worth of food. I am no financial whiz but those returns sound pretty good to me!
– When you host your next dinner party, ask your guests to bring non-perishable donations instead of a dessert or a hostess gift. My sister-in-law did this for a party and generated a van-load of food for the local bank.
– Organize a community food drive with your neighbours. Most people say that they want to help out but unless things are made convenient (like say, dropping off some food on your neighbours porch) excuses are easy to come by.
My family participates in The Good Food Box program. For 5 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables that are purchased an inner-city family receives an equivalent box at no cost.
A few weeks ago, Kitchen Counter Chronicles wrote about the initiative No Kid Hungry and how she started a discussion with her children that morphed into action. Her story is inspiring and I plan to take a wish-list written on orange paper with me the next time I do the groceries.
To all of our fellow Canadians living here and abroad, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving this weekend and ask that instead of just being thankful for the food on your table, consider sharing your bounty with others in need.