Lo­cal food bank marks World Hunger Aware­ness Week

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

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.

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

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.

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