Local food banks throw gauntlet for hunger awareness

Seen in image above: Last year's edition of the hunger campaign. House of Lazarus (HOL) and Community Food Share staff with some of the Hunger Awareness Champions following a debrief for the challenge, held Sept. 27. Back row, from left, HOL executive director Cathy Ashby, HOL client services manager Kim Merkley, South Dundas Mayor Evonne Delegarde, Merrickville-Wolford Mayor David Nash, North Grenville Deputy Mayor Barb Tobin, Linking Hands (program of HOL) Coordinator Sandy Casselman and Community Food Share administrator Ian McKelvie. Front row, from left, North Dundas Councillor Tony Fraser, North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan and Winchester District Memorial Hospital CEO Cholly Boland. Missing from the photo are community activist Kim Sheldrick, North Grenville Councillor Frank Onasanya, North Dundas Good Neighbour Mike Barkley and Kemptville District Hospital Foundation Chair/Westerra Homes owner Robert Noseworthy.

MOUNTAIN— “Every month, there are hundreds of thousands of adults, seniors and families that are walking a very fine line between just barely surviving and falling into the deepest levels of poverty,” noted the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) in its 2017 Hunger Report.

This year, Food Banks Canada (FBC) has joined the OAFB to take its week-long Hunger Awareness campaign and turn it into Hunger Action Month. As part of the CFB and OAFB, both Community Food Share and House of Lazarus will be participating in the September campaign in various ways, including hosting another Hunger Awareness Challenge locally.

This year’s challenge will run from Monday, September 10 to Friday, September 14. It will follow the same guidelines as last year. Participants, also referred to as Hunger Awareness Champions, will collect a supply of food from the foodbank based on what a single person might receive for a five-day period every month. The Champion will then be re-

quired to live on nothing but that supply of food for five days with only one exception: they may use $10 of their own money to supplement where needed.

“At first glance, it would appear to be easy,” Community Food Share administrator Ian McKelvie said. “But, it’s not. People underestimate the amount of food a person receives through the food bank. A monthly trip to the food bank will provide food that should last for a week. Food banks are equipped to supplement a food budget, not replace it.”

Last year, there were 12 participants, including one who went through the process anonymously, following the exact steps an actual food bank client would take. So far, two of last year’s participants have signed on to do it again. Including Vernon’s Kim Sheldrick.

“While I will participate for just one week, food banks and soup kitchens are a fact of life for many. You gain real perspective into surroundings when you immerse yourself in how others live. One way to best help people is to understand their issues,” she said.

To participate in this year’s challenge, contact Community Food Share or House of Lazarus. To learn more, please visit www.houseoflazarus.com/hunger-awareness-challenge-2018.

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