Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hunger Awareness Week & Volunteering

It's Hunger Awareness Week in Canada... which doesn't mean the rest of you shouldn't give this a thought or two, no matter where you live.
This week's campaign challenges us to give up a meal or food staple.  How many times have you used the words "I'm starving"  as you walk in the door - perhaps 30 minutes, max, away from dinner?
It's so easy for most of us who have the economic ability to eat whatever and whenever we want, to forget about those - really close to home... and not living through some far away disaster... who are not so fortunate.
Perhaps because food is always front of mind for me, I volunteer with an awesome organization... FEED NOVA SCOTIA to do my little part in the fight against hunger.  I helped design and facilitate the Kidz Magic Cupboard Project last summer and did some mock interviews for the graduating class of The Learning Kitchen - a most amazing program to help individuals learn life skills and a trade in the food services industry.
And last night, FEED NOVA SCOTIA held their annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner - catered by none other than the students of the Learning Kitchen under the guidance of Chef Mike (second from right). That's Dianne Swinemar, Exec Director acting as Emcee up front.  This crew has only been in the program for two weeks, so kudos for feeding us all so well.  There were 190 of us attending!  The theme... feed nova scotia ALL STARS with the staff in baseball uniforms and the menu - ball park food, what else? So many dishes and not one photo worthy of sharing.  In addition to the usual grilled burgers and sausages, there was a stew of BBQ sausage with maple baked beans, a black bean chili
and so many desserts I'm still in awe.

Naturally the event was to acknowledge and thank all the volunteers for their hard work this past year and I thought I'd share some of the stats presented...
  • 90,989 kg/over 100 tons non perishable food and 
  • $686,931 raised through a few sample events that were highlighted during the evening. 
  • These events were supported by 540 volunteers and this only scratches the surface in a long list of other events, through which volunteers helped raise much-needed food and funds last year.
And to remind us all again about why we need to get involved to change the state of things, here's a quote from last night's playbill...
"Beyond the Empty Plate
You may have seen the face of hunger and not even realized it.  It could be as close as your child's classmate. It could be a neighbour you pass going to work every day, or even the young family you chat with at the local park.  Right now, food banks are being visited by families just like yours, families with children and teenagers, and they're coming to food banks more often than ever before.
 Today, two years after the end of the 2008-09 recession, the number of Nova Scotians seeking help from food banks is still 33% higher than before it began.  It's time we address the root causes of hunger.  That's why we're asking you to speak out with us.  For all Canadians (and everyone else for that matter), for your loved ones, for your neighbours, and for people who never thought they'd need a food bank."
There are lots of ways you can add your voice to the Hunger Awareness Week Challenge...tweet about it using #HAW hash tag and follow them on Twitter @foodbankscanada  & Facebook; attend a variety of events across Canada; follow FEED NOVA SCOTIA on Twitter @feednovascotia and Facebook reach out to your Provincial & Federal governments; donate to your local food bank; share your "give it up" experiences.

And for those of you who do not live in Canada... make it happen wherever you are!

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