LETTER: Let's do more to fight food insecurity

Opinion Jul 17, 2017 by Toby Merritt Stoney Creek News

As a first year Masters of Social Work student at the University of Windsor, my eyes have been opened to the depth of food insecurity in Canada. Food insecurity is defined as the inability to secure adequate amounts of food, usually due to lack of a sufficient income, to support the food needs of an individual or family.

It is inconceivable that in Canada, one of the most compassionate, caring, resource-rich nations in the world, a staggering eight per cent of households experience food insecurity, according to Statistics Canada. In Hamilton, an equally staggering 20,000 people, 37 per cent of whom are children, visit food banks for emergency food each month, according to Hamilton Food Share. As a longtime Stoney Creek resident, these statistics have shaken me to my core. We must do more to help those who experience food insecurity? Here’s what we can do.

Awareness of the problem is key. Those who are food secure must look outside their place of privilege and recognize the problem. For the food secure, the occasional food drive, and reading a few news articles on the topic of food insecurity, offers a passing view of this problem. News articles on food drives often emphasize pictures of large bins overflowing with canned food. Of course, such illustrations are positively reinforcing for food donors in that it feels good to see how donations add up. Surely, that overstuffed bin of food can feed people for months.

Given how food insecurity is covered in the media, it is easy to be lulled into the false notion that food banks are solving the problem. Food banks rarely have sufficient resources, and can only provide a few day’s food supply to residents who are typically limited to one or two visits to secure food per month. Moreover, food banks need quality food, not the leftover cans that donors won’t eat, or won’t feed their own family.

What is the answer? Let’s view news articles on food drives more critically, and ask that the media provide more coverage of core issues that impact food insecurity, such as the lack of any federal policy to combat food insecurity, and more articles on the struggle to provide a living wage so that sufficient food supplies can be purchased. Let’s donate mindfully. This means donating good, quality food, rather than cans that would be tossed if not for that office party that includes the obligatory canned food drive. Finally, let’s move away from this mindset that donating food means donating cans. Financial donations allow the food bank experts to effectively and efficiently buy the food that meets the needs of the populations they serve. In fact, according to Hamilton Food Share, a one-dollar donation equals five dollars worth of good, quality food.

Wake up Stoney Creek. Those who experience food insecurity are our brothers and sisters living right here in our community. Together, we can eradicate food insecurity from our community.

Toby Merritt

Stoney Creek

LETTER: Let's do more to fight food insecurity

Opinion Jul 17, 2017 by Toby Merritt Stoney Creek News

As a first year Masters of Social Work student at the University of Windsor, my eyes have been opened to the depth of food insecurity in Canada. Food insecurity is defined as the inability to secure adequate amounts of food, usually due to lack of a sufficient income, to support the food needs of an individual or family.

It is inconceivable that in Canada, one of the most compassionate, caring, resource-rich nations in the world, a staggering eight per cent of households experience food insecurity, according to Statistics Canada. In Hamilton, an equally staggering 20,000 people, 37 per cent of whom are children, visit food banks for emergency food each month, according to Hamilton Food Share. As a longtime Stoney Creek resident, these statistics have shaken me to my core. We must do more to help those who experience food insecurity? Here’s what we can do.

Awareness of the problem is key. Those who are food secure must look outside their place of privilege and recognize the problem. For the food secure, the occasional food drive, and reading a few news articles on the topic of food insecurity, offers a passing view of this problem. News articles on food drives often emphasize pictures of large bins overflowing with canned food. Of course, such illustrations are positively reinforcing for food donors in that it feels good to see how donations add up. Surely, that overstuffed bin of food can feed people for months.

Given how food insecurity is covered in the media, it is easy to be lulled into the false notion that food banks are solving the problem. Food banks rarely have sufficient resources, and can only provide a few day’s food supply to residents who are typically limited to one or two visits to secure food per month. Moreover, food banks need quality food, not the leftover cans that donors won’t eat, or won’t feed their own family.

What is the answer? Let’s view news articles on food drives more critically, and ask that the media provide more coverage of core issues that impact food insecurity, such as the lack of any federal policy to combat food insecurity, and more articles on the struggle to provide a living wage so that sufficient food supplies can be purchased. Let’s donate mindfully. This means donating good, quality food, rather than cans that would be tossed if not for that office party that includes the obligatory canned food drive. Finally, let’s move away from this mindset that donating food means donating cans. Financial donations allow the food bank experts to effectively and efficiently buy the food that meets the needs of the populations they serve. In fact, according to Hamilton Food Share, a one-dollar donation equals five dollars worth of good, quality food.

Wake up Stoney Creek. Those who experience food insecurity are our brothers and sisters living right here in our community. Together, we can eradicate food insecurity from our community.

Toby Merritt

Stoney Creek

LETTER: Let's do more to fight food insecurity

Opinion Jul 17, 2017 by Toby Merritt Stoney Creek News

As a first year Masters of Social Work student at the University of Windsor, my eyes have been opened to the depth of food insecurity in Canada. Food insecurity is defined as the inability to secure adequate amounts of food, usually due to lack of a sufficient income, to support the food needs of an individual or family.

It is inconceivable that in Canada, one of the most compassionate, caring, resource-rich nations in the world, a staggering eight per cent of households experience food insecurity, according to Statistics Canada. In Hamilton, an equally staggering 20,000 people, 37 per cent of whom are children, visit food banks for emergency food each month, according to Hamilton Food Share. As a longtime Stoney Creek resident, these statistics have shaken me to my core. We must do more to help those who experience food insecurity? Here’s what we can do.

Awareness of the problem is key. Those who are food secure must look outside their place of privilege and recognize the problem. For the food secure, the occasional food drive, and reading a few news articles on the topic of food insecurity, offers a passing view of this problem. News articles on food drives often emphasize pictures of large bins overflowing with canned food. Of course, such illustrations are positively reinforcing for food donors in that it feels good to see how donations add up. Surely, that overstuffed bin of food can feed people for months.

Given how food insecurity is covered in the media, it is easy to be lulled into the false notion that food banks are solving the problem. Food banks rarely have sufficient resources, and can only provide a few day’s food supply to residents who are typically limited to one or two visits to secure food per month. Moreover, food banks need quality food, not the leftover cans that donors won’t eat, or won’t feed their own family.

What is the answer? Let’s view news articles on food drives more critically, and ask that the media provide more coverage of core issues that impact food insecurity, such as the lack of any federal policy to combat food insecurity, and more articles on the struggle to provide a living wage so that sufficient food supplies can be purchased. Let’s donate mindfully. This means donating good, quality food, rather than cans that would be tossed if not for that office party that includes the obligatory canned food drive. Finally, let’s move away from this mindset that donating food means donating cans. Financial donations allow the food bank experts to effectively and efficiently buy the food that meets the needs of the populations they serve. In fact, according to Hamilton Food Share, a one-dollar donation equals five dollars worth of good, quality food.

Wake up Stoney Creek. Those who experience food insecurity are our brothers and sisters living right here in our community. Together, we can eradicate food insecurity from our community.

Toby Merritt

Stoney Creek