WEYBURN - Fall is approaching. It is a beautiful time of year, with autumn leaves falling, and farmers completing their harvest operations in the fields. Fall is a time for people to gather in appreciation and thanks, and share in family and community.
It is also a time to remember to give back to those in need in our community, especially as students back within their classrooms. There are many families still struggling with finances, and an increased demand of clients to the Salvation Army Food Bank.
The food bank is such a valuable program to this community. Donations of non-perishable food items, gift cards to grocery stores, and even fresh fruit and vegetables are very much appreciated by the Salvation Army and their client base.
Food insecurity is when not enough nutritious food is reliably accessible due to financial challenges that individuals or households experience. Food banks are typically not-for-profit organizations, not funded by the government, with the mission to provide access to nutritious food on a consistent basis to those who seek assistance.
According to a recent report, 5.8 million Canadians are living in food-insecure households. This means families are making tough decisions about whether they feed themselves, feed their children, or keep the lights and heat on. This includes 1.4 million children.
Most importantly, when donating to your local food bank, remember to be considerate of those clients who rely on the stock on the shelves. Please do not donate food items that have sat on your shelves for more than a year, as even non-perishable food items do have a listed ‘best before’ date that should be considered.
Please also consider donating gift cards, or making a large cash donation. Food bank employees can get a lot of bang out of those bucks by buying in bulk, and taking advantage of sales at local grocery stores. Also remember that cash donations to non-profit organizations can be claimed during tax season.
Keep it simple too, by contacting the food bank to see if there is anything that is a demand, and anything that is not required. While there is a bigger awareness of donating to food banks during the Christmas season, it is also important to remember that food banks need to keep feeding people throughout the year.
If you are not comfortable donating food or cash, consider donating your time. Check in with the food bank to see if they need some help with sorting of their donations. It is always eye-opening to see the inside workings of a food bank, and to truly value their staff and other volunteers.
There are some amazing stories to be shared of how important a food bank has been to someone in the community. Sometimes the best way to learn these stories is to experience them first-hand.