In a country as affluent as Canada, hunger is unacceptable. Yet close to 900,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 38 per cent are children or youth.
Hunger is often a hidden issue and we are working hard to change that fact. Food Bank Canada’s “Hunger Awareness Week” is one way that we can connect all across Canada to discuss the need, and look for solutions.
Here in Sicamous, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of people accessing the food bank since the beginning of this year. We are shocked and dismayed to realize we will soon be out of food again even given the community’s Christmas time generosity. After several very tough years, last year saw only a small increase, and this year we hoped to see the need stabilize, perhaps even improve, and do not know why we are seeing more need.
The “whys” need to be examined in each community and province, and we ask you to come to Sicamous Askew’s store on May 7, and talk to us, ask questions, and share your thoughts about why we see growing need, and what you see as possible solutions. This is your community, and your food bank.
We can change the statistics by working together. Major partners in meeting the local need, Askew’s and D Dutchmen Dairy help us in so many ways to ensure we are able to provide quality nutrition, but first they had to care and ask questions. We are so fortunate to have businesses like the houseboat companies, Hyde Mountain Golf Course, pubs and restaurants, the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union and a lot more that have come up with many and unique ways to support us.
One of the most important things all community members can do to help the food bank is to support local business. A healthy business community means a healthy economy for our community. It means more jobs, more people spending money, less who need food support and more profits for the many generous businesses here to share.
During Hunger Awareness Week, May 7-11, you will find empty brown paper lunch bags with the Hunger Awareness logo at locations throughout Sicamous and Malakwa. Individuals are encouraged to pick up a bag and fill it with healthy food items for Eagle Valley Food Bank. Together, we can work to end hunger and find solutions to meeting the need for access to quality nutrition for all residents.
So, do you want more information about hunger in Canada? Got something you want to say? Have time, money or food you can give? See you at Askew’s on the 7th. By learning and sharing, we can all change the way we think about hunger and activate the changes needed to reduce it.
We encourage everyone to take part. Visit www.hungerawarenessweek.ca for more information. You won’t regret it.
Submitted by the Eagle Valley Resource Centre/ Support Society.