Local food bank marks World Hunger Awareness Week
This week The Salvation Army and local food bank operators across Canada are asking people to Draw the Line on Hunger.
From September 19-23 is Hunger Awareness Week. Jenessa McAuley community and family services worker for the local Salvation Army says the goal is to raise awareness of hunger issues in Canada, but also locally. “It also talks about the role of food banks”, she said. Captain Jennifer Hillier of The Salvation Army, said last year they saw an increase of users of the food bank, but this year it seems to have leveled out.
“That’s good news for us, I think we are into a natural rhythm of the food banks. We are still definitely very busy and seeing lots of people on a weekly basis, it doesn’t seem to be still climbing though,” said Hillier. That may be just because of the season, we may see it later in the year.”
McAuley says that today almost 50 per cent of the users are households with children.
The Salvation Army wrapped up their annual Stuff The Bus program with great support from local residents, businesses and community organizations. Encana also stepped up with a matching program.
“We had asked for some specific things during Stuff The Bus such as peanut butter and school snacks for kids because we typically see a demand around this time of year for those items, and we got lots of those items which we are really grateful for,” said Hillier. “We are still low on a few things like pasta, pasta sauces, Kraft Dinner and noodle soups.”
She adds they have continued to not only make sure the basic need of hunger is fulfilled, but also looking at nutritional requirements.
That’s good news for us, I think we are into a natural rhythm of the food banks. We are still definitely very busy and seeing lots of people on a weekly basis, it doesn’t seem to be still climbing though.” Captain Jennifer Hillier The Salvation Army, Drumheller
“We are looking into what we put in hampers. It is always a challenge with non-perishables to move away from things that come in a box and have a lot of sugar and salt content,” said Hillier.
She explains they have introduced a peanut butter initiative with the goal of making sure peanut butter is a standard item in food hampers.
“It is really exciting because it does boost the nutritional value,” said McAuley, adding that during this time of year, they do receive more fresh vegetables, while not predictable, they do supplement the hampers.
Another initiative to keep stocks of the local food bank healthy is they have approached local churches to hold food drives. “We are really excited about that because every month we will have some sort of food supply coming through the food bank,” said Hillier.
To help get residents to think about the problem of hunger, they are holding a couple awareness events. On Wednesday, September 21, (today) they are holding a brown bag lunch challenge, asking people to bring lunch to work instead of buying lunch and donating the funds to the food bank.
On Thursday, September 22, at noon hour, they are screening a documentary called “Thought for Food,” followed by a discussion at the Salvation Army Church.
For more information on World Hunger Awareness Week, go to www.drumsa.org.
Jenessa McAuley, community and family service coordinator at the Salvation Army and Captain Jennifer Hillier are working to spread the word World Hunger Awareness Week.