Last weekend, my local food bank held its annual “Fill the Yellow Bus” event. There were school buses parked in front of four of our local grocery stores, and volunteers were soliciting for donations. The goal: fill the yellow bus with food.
I volunteered for the event and it was rewarding to see so many people giving generously.
During this 7 hour event, over 8,000 lbs of food were collected.
Like many, my local food bank has been seeing an increase in need. It helped 50% more people in 2012 compared to 2011.
Giving to food banks, either in food or by cash donation, is something that has been important to me for a long time. I can remember in elementary school every December we would be asked to bring in non-perishable food donations for the food baskets that were made up for families in need. In those early years, around age 6 or 7, I had no idea of how close my family was to being a family in need. At that time I would proudly bring in my one or two cans of something. With time my family’s financial stability increased, and so did my donations. I always felt compelled to bring in as much as I could. The idea of people not having enough to eat seemed so wrong and I just wanted to help.
Today, I still donate to food banks. The thought of people not having enough to eat is profoundly disturbing to me. If someone doesn’t have enough to eat, it will affect every aspect of his/her life and that person has very little opportunity to change his/her situation. Food is a basic need without which we cannot survive. Yet many Canadians do not have enough to eat.
Each month, over 880,000 Canadians receive food from a food bank. In addition to that, close to 4 million meals are prepared and served by soup kitchens, shelters, school breakfast initiatives and other programs. That adds up to almost 50 million meals per year. That is a lot of Canadians that are unable to get enough food without help.
Of those helped by food banks, 38% are children and youth.
The thought of not having enough to eat each day is painful. I cannot truly imagine what that is like. Not having enough to eat is bad enough. Not being able to provide enough food for one’s children must feel like torture.
Food banks are often run by volunteers and they depend on the generosity of members of their local community to provide help for others who are in need. In recent years, many food banks in Canada have had to deal with an increase in demand, while at the same time facing a decrease in donations as so many more have been in need.
The typical help that a food bank provides is 3 to 7 days worth of food, once per month. That is all. Three to seven days worth of food… In 2012, 55% of food banks had to cut back the amount of food they provided to each household.
If you and your family have enough to eat, I urge you; please give to your local food bank today and help feed families in your community.
*statistics used were taken from HungerCount 2012