9 up for chal­lenge

They’ll eat for a week as any other Agape Cen­tre client does

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - ALAN S. HALE ahale@post­media.com twit­ter.com/alan_S_hale

Nine vol­un­teers are go­ing to live for the next week on just a few mostly non-per­ish­able food items they can take from Agape Cen­tre’s food bank.

They are tak­ing part in the Hunger Aware­ness Chal­lenge, which is the food bank’s lat­est fundrais­ing ini­tia­tive aimed at keep­ing its shelves stocked for the 1,100 clients they served last month. Septem­ber is also Hunger Ac­tion Month.

“So what we’ve come up with is a chal­lenge, and we ap­proached some com­mu­nity peo­ple about be­com­ing hunger aware­ness cham­pi­ons,” ex­plained Diane Plourde, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “They have agreed to live off a lim­ited food sup­ply for six days and re­port on their ex­pe­ri­ence to the pub­lic.”

Each of the vol­un­teers were al­lowed to shop at the food bank fol­low­ing the same rules gov­ern­ing what and how much they can take that ev­ery other per­son who uses the fa­cil­ity must fol­low.

The Agape Cen­tre has set up a Hunger Aware­ness Chal­lenge Face­book page, where the vol­un­teers will be post­ing about their ex­pe­ri­ences liv­ing off of just the item they got from the food bank. Plourde hopes that mem­bers of the pub­lic will like the page in or­der fol­low their progress.

Liv­ing off such a mea­gre amount of food is some­thing many peo­ple in Corn­wall must do, said Plourde and many of them stretch out what they get from the food bank longer than a week.

“The re­al­ity is that most peo­ple might have to stretch that over the whole month,” she said.

The vol­un­teers are also in­vited to sup­ple­ment their food by com­ing into the Agape Cen­tre’s soup kitchen as many other clients do. While cer­tainly an in­ter­est­ing way to walk a mile in other peo­ple’s shoes, the chal­lenge is also a fundraiser, with each of the vol­un­teers col­lect­ing pledges to take part in it.

The Agape Cen­tre is hop­ing to see each champion raise $1,000 each, which would be enough money to keep the food bank shelves stocked with fresh food and high-de­mand items like soup and peanut but­ter for an­other few months.

Aside from the prac­ti­cal con­cerns of keep­ing the cen­tre’s ser­vices go­ing, Plourde hopes the chal­lenge will raise aware­ness of hunger as a so­cial is­sue as well.

“Food in­se­cu­rity is very real in our com­mu­nity, and this a great way to raise aware­ness as well as get­ting fresh food for our clients.”

ALAN S. HALE/STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

Janet St. Pierre loads up her small gro­cery cart at the Agape Cen­tre's food bank on Fri­day with the only food she is al­lowed to have for the next six days, af­ter vol­un­teer­ing to take part in Hunger Aware­ness Chal­lenge.

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