By Jeff Bonner, special to the News
After recently launching a fundraising and awareness campaign for food banks, I’ve received a mixed response.
Most of it has been very positive, but there is always a rumbling underneath when discussing food banks, including comments that they are not a solution to the problem.
I would happily concede that food banks are not a long-term solution to poverty.
The only lasting solution I would see for that is a strong economy with good job opportunities that pay decent wages.
But that long-term solution doesn’t mean much when you are hungry now, especially if there are children in the picture.
But despite a lot of attention being given to poverty in our community over the last few years, food bank usage has increased.
According to Hamilton Food Share’s Hunger Count report, the number of households using a food bank grew by 25 per cent from 2008 to 2012, and the number of children involved has grown by 23 per cent.
I find that unacceptable, so I choose to support food banks to meet the short-term need of my fellow community members.
And now is a very good time to support our community’s food banks.
Although food bank usage continues through the summer, donations drop off by 25 to 40 per cent compared to other times of the year as we all turn our attention to vacations and personal recreation.
Shelves in the food banks are more often empty than not, with many important essentials missing or low in supply.
There are many ways you can help. The simplest is with a donation of food or money. If you want to get a bit more involved, perhaps organize a food drive in your workplace, neighbourhood or other social circles.
Or be creative and get personally involved with an innovative effort like the Stuff The Bus food-raiser that has been held on the Mountain the last couple years, or my own Homes For Hunger campaign running through August.
And remember, whether it’s donation of food or volunteer effort, every food bank has different specific needs that can vary depending on the season and what they have in stock.
If you want to make maximum impact by contributing where it’s most needed, call or drop them an email – I’m sure they’d be happy to have your help.
Jeff Bonner is a Hamilton real estate agent. During August he is donating his sales ommission on new listings. See jeffsellshomes.ca/homes4hunger.
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