Having reached the highest recorded peak for food bank usage in this country, Food Banks Canada is calling on all Canadians to Make a Change and Make a Difference on Hunger Awareness Day tomorrow.
“Hunger is a persistent and growing problem in Canada. In 2010, nearly 900,000 Canadians turned to food banks for assistance each month and 38 per cent of them were children,” says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “However, if each Canadian made a small, positive change, we could make a difference and address the problem of hunger in this country.”
Over the last two years, food bank use in Canada has risen by 28 per cent following four consecutive years of decline. Today, more than 900 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies operate in communities across Canada, supporting the needs of Canadians who do not have enough to eat. Many of these organizations are struggling to meet demand, especially during the summer months when the issue of hunger is not always top of mind.
On Hunger Awareness Day, Food Banks Canada is asking all Canadians to make a simple change that can impact the issue of hunger. Suggested changes include:
- Change what you know about hunger – Get informed, learn how prevalent hunger is in Canada and understand the issue by visiting www.foodbankscanada.ca
- Change how you support your food bank – try volunteering, making a financial donation, or donating most-needed food items, such as pasta, rice, canned meats, fish, vegetables and fruits, powdered milk and baby food, to your local food bank.
- Change how you talk about hunger – tell your MP you want to see it addressed, talk to your friends about it, and add Hunger Awareness Day to your online profile
“It is disgraceful that in a country as wealthy as Canada, hundreds of thousands of people do not have enough to eat,” says Schmidt. “On May 31, I encourage all Canadians to make a change that will help solve hunger in Canada.” Food Banks Canada is also inviting Canadians to make a difference by participating in one of the Great Canadian Lunch-In events being hosted by Food Banks Canada, provincial associations and food banks across Canada to mark Hunger Awareness Day. The Great Canadian Lunch-In events – a play on a “sit-in” – will be taking place in 28 cities and communities across Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver, Regina, Edmonton, Halifax and multiple locations in Quebec and Ontario tomorrow. The Great Canadian national Lunch-In will be held in Toronto at David Pecaut Square (formerly Metro Square) from12-1:30 p.m. on May 31.
Individuals are invited to bring their lunch to the Lunch-In and to eat together as a gesture of generosity and solidarity in acknowledging hunger as a problem in Canada. Alternatively, individuals can fill their lunch bag with a financial donation (the amount they usually spend on lunch) or stuff it with a most-needed food item for a local food bank such as pasta, rice, canned meats, fish, vegetables and fruits, powdered milk and baby food.
Hunger Awareness Day would not be possible without the support of some of Canada’s leading corporate citizens. Food Banks Canada would like to thank this year’s Corporate Hunger Heroes who are vital to raising awareness for the cause and are executing a number of events across the country. These Heroes include, Campbell Company of Canada, ConAgra Foods, Great West Life, Investors Group Inc., Kellogg Canada Inc., Kraft Canada Inc., McCain Foods (Canada), Quaker, Purolator Courier Ltd., Sodexo and Sony of Canada. We would also like to thank our Hunger Supporter, Radical Foundation.
For more information on Hunger Awareness Day or the Lunch-In events please visit www.hungerawarenessday.ca.
About Hunger Awareness Day
Hunger Awareness Day was created to provide food banks with an opportunity to educate about the reality of hunger in Canada and to encourage all Canadians to make a choice to help those in need. Although the first food bank was opened in 1981 as a temporary emergency measure, food banks have become an unfortunate part of the social safety net. Today, more than 900 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies distribute groceries or provide meals for hungry Canadians. About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our members and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 per cent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Visit www.foodbankscanada.ca for more information.
* Source: HungerCount2010, Food Banks Canada. For the complete 2010 HungerCount report please go to: http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/HungerCount.htm