Today marks the Candian Association of Food Banks' National Hunger Awareness Day - a day to put the spot light on hunger issues not around the world - but right in our own back yard.
730,000 Canadians access food banks each month in Canada, with about 40% of these people children. Canadian food banks are typically run by volunteers, recieve food and cash supplies by donation, and typically experience severe shortages of food between Easter and November.
Locally, food banks provide food for 9,000 people per week in the Greater Vancouver Area, while also supplying food to 100 affiliated social agencies. Through 16 depots, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank processes over 8 million pounds of food a year.
Food banks have become one of the most important sources of food for people in need in Canada - and food banks recieve no government funding.
As someone who has accessed food bank services in the past I know the desperation and humilation of those who come looking in need. I also know the appreciation, the incredible intense graditude one experiences when on the reciving end.
While donations of food are always appreciated, cash donations are very important to the food bank - it allows them to provide the hungry with perishable goods, such as milk, eggs, fruit & vegetables and baby products.
Click here for more information about how to donate to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Or contact a food bank in your area. If you are interested in a more co-ordinated effort, consider signing your work place up this summer for the "Lunch Money Campaign".
It's easy to blog about food and diet choices when you are fortunate enough to choose what it is you do or do not eat. As much as living where I do makes that a reality which is difficult to ignore, this is an important reminder. It's not just those of us who are on the streets or people in Africa who are hungry. Hunger lives in our own backyard.