When was the last time you were hungry? I don’t mean peckish or late getting dinner on the table. I mean real hunger, the kind one only experiences when there is no access to food. Many of us can’t imagine what that’s like’on this site we often discuss how to eat less and fight cravings. But for nearly 1 million Canadians, hunger is very real.
Today is Hunger Awareness Day, a campaign sponsored by the Food Banks of Canada to help raise awareness about hunger issues in this country. If you think hunger is only a problem in developing countries, consider this:
‘ Nearly 900,000 Canadians used a food bank in 2010
‘ Over the last two years, food bank use in Canada has risen by 28 percent
‘ More than 11 percent of food bank users have jobs
‘ Almost 40 percent of food bank clients are children
‘ Roughly 15 percent of those who use food banks have a disability
Cheryl Smith falls into this last category. She’s been using food banks off and on for 25 years to supplement her disability allowance, and stresses that while food banks are a necessary resource for many, they are hard-pressed to handle the growing number of people who need them. "Even using the food bank, many of us are left hungry and without for longer stretches of time," says the Toronto-based spokesperson for Hunger Awareness Day. "Hunger hurts, is all-consuming and all too pervasive in a country as rich as Canada."
So while you’re digging into lunch today or choosing a snack to get you through the afternoon slump, consider how you can help those in need by donating to or volunteering at a local food bank or meal assistance program, writing to your MP or organizing a fundraising event in your community.