MOUNTAIN—“Every month, there are hundreds of thousands of adults, seniors and families that are walking a very fine line between just barely surviving and falling into the deepest levels of poverty,” noted the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) in its 2017 Hunger Report.
This year, Food Banks Canada (FBC) has joined the OAFB to take its week-long Hunger Awareness campaign and turn it into Hunger Action Month. As part of the CFB and OAFB, both Community Food Share and House of Lazarus will be participating in the September campaign in various ways, including hosting another Hunger Awareness Challenge locally.
This year’s challenge will run from Mon., Sept. 10 to Fri., Sept. 14. It will follow the same guidelines as last year. Participants, also referred to as Hunger Awareness Champions, will collect a supply of food from the food bank based on what a single person might receive for a five-day period every month. The Champion will then be required to live on nothing but that supply of food for five days with only one exception: they may use $10 of their own money to supplement where needed.
“At first glance, it would appear to be easy,” Community Food Share administrator Ian McKelvie said. “But, it’s not. People underestimate the amount of food a person receives through the food bank. A monthly trip to the food bank will provide food that should last for a week. Food banks are equipped to supplement a food budget, not replace it.”
Last year, there were 12 participants, including one who went through the process anonymously, following the exact steps an actual food bank client would take. So far, two of last year’s participants have signed on to do it again. Including Vernon’s Kim Sheldrick.
“While I will participate for just one week, food banks and soup kitchens are a fact of life for many. You gain real perspective into surroundings when you immerse yourself in how others live. One way to best help people is to understand their issues,” she said.
To participate in this year’s challenge, contact Community Food Share or House of Lazarus. To learn more, please visit www.houseoflazarus.com/hunger-awareness-challenge-2018.
“HOL participates in this challenge because awareness around food insecurity is crucial to solving hunger,” House of Lazarus executive director Cathy Ashby said. “As a food bank, we do what we can to address the immediate needs of those who are hungry, but if we’re going to eliminate hunger, we have to be proactive and do more.”
Community Food Share and House of Lazarus have joined forces with Cornwall’s Agape Centre, South Grenville Food Bank, and the Merrickville Food Cupboard to participate in the Hunger Awareness Challenge. Community Food Share has several food bank and food cupboard locations, serving people in both Dundas and Stormont Counties. House of Lazarus is a food bank and outreach mission located in Mountain, serving hundreds of clients from surrounding communities, including Dundas County, Grenville County and South Ottawa. Last year, 1,525 people were fed through both Community Food Share and House of Lazarus.