It is estimated that thirteen percent of Canadians do not have regular access to adequate amounts of good food, usually because their incomes don’t allow it. One in eight Toronto households go hungry every day. Food banks offer a form of relief and each month more than 850 thousand people turn to food banks for help. Christmas is normally a time when families would gather around the dining table to celebrate and indulge in a feast. Sadly, this is not the reality for everyone and the need for food banks grows.
The most common items food banks ask for are pasta, dairy products (either canned or fresh), whole cereals, canned vegetables, beans and fruit as well as bathroom tissue, infant formula, baby foods, diapers and personal hygiene products. This year the local career college, Evergreen College, contributed to the cause by donating almost 30 bags of groceries, filled to the brim with items, to the Toronto City Food Bank. They collected pasta, peanut butter, beans, fruit juices and other foodstuffs that were most needed. Staff promoted the initiative through strategically-hung posters around campus as well as in their classrooms. Students jumped at the chance to offer support to their fellow Canadians and brought in items over the course of the week. Many of Evergreen College’s students learn about how an individual plays a role in wider society – be that through care for others, a service they provide or counseling. The food drive was just one way that students could put those teachings into practice, create a relationship with their community and gain a sense of fulfillment at the same time. The donation was gratefully received by the Toronto City Food Bank and the college plans to do a similar drive again next year, with the hopes of beating their own record for the amount of food collected.
Of course, the need for sustenance does not end after Christmas. Food banks and other charitable organizations, like shelters or community health centres, require continued support throughout the year. Those wishing to help are encouraged to visit Food Banks Canada or Canada Helps for general information and a list organizations in their area.