Those of you who know me, know that I'm always thinking, talking, cooking food. Even my email signature is "it's all about the food...isn't it?" and you'll be hard pressed to find even one entry on my blogs that is not food related. It's hard for me to imagine an activity that doesn't somehow include food - finding it, cooking it, eating it, enjoying foodie books, magazines and TV shows. Even hiking in the woods, has me noticing mushrooms and fiddleheads (and wondering which are poisonous - but that's another story).
When I was a kid in Montreal, the standard "mom" expression when we didn't eat what was on our plates - "there are children starving in Biafra!" and we, would answer..."well, you can mail them mine", not understanding in the least what "starving" meant. Even today, we see images on TV asking for help for those in war torn, impoverished nations and for areas suffering from one natural disaster or another, and it breaks our hearts. But we don't think about those living in this lush and food rich land, who are in the same situation. The truth is, hundreds of thousands of Canadians use food banks because they do not have enough money to feed themselves or their families. Children. Seniors. People with disabilities. People who have jobs and still can't make ends meet.Instead, we say "I'm starving!" when what we mean is "When is dinner? I haven't eaten since lunch."
Tomorrow is Hunger Awareness Day in Canada. Last year, close to 800,000 Canadians visited local food banks every month...18% higher than the year before...37% of them were children...3,252,134 meals were served. You can check out some other shocking statistics here, and while I will definitely be counting my blessings, I'll be finding out how I can do my part to change this sorry, sorry state. As the old saying goes..."the longest journey begins with a single step."
So tomorrow, I'll be joining in a local Halifax event - Hunger Lineup to collectively acknowledge that hunger exists in communities across this great land and to learn more about their challenges and what I can do to help. There are three hunger lineups in the province, so if you're a Nova Scotian, check out the one nearest you.
Thursday, I'll be meeting with Dianne Swinemar, Executive Director of Feed Nova Scotia to find out more about local programs. I urge you to do the same in your neighborhood. And for those of you in the USA. Here are some links - Feeding America's site will tell you how to get involved in your community and here's an eye-opening article from the NY Times, November 2009 to read.
What will be your "first step" to making a difference?