Posted on 02 May 2012 by Mathew White
The Osoyoos Food Bank is hoping residents will dig a little deeper into their grocery bags during the upcoming Hunger Awareness Week, which runs from May 7-11.
“I just hope that we’ll be able to ramp up the food supply at the Food Bank,” said Lu Ahrendt, who manages the Osoyoos Food Bank.
This is the first year Food Banks Canada has dedicated an entire week to hunger awareness.
Previously it had only been a day, but Ahrendt suspects because the day has been so successful in the past, they decided to extend it into an entire week.
Throughout Hunger Awareness Week cities all across Canada will be holding events in an effort to attract donations and raise awareness on the problems facing those who are less fortunate in our society.
While there aren’t any events planned specifically in Osoyoos for the week, she still hopes residents will give a little more, especially around this time of the year when donations tend to dwindle, she said.
“Our donations usually drop off around this time of the year,” said Ahrendt.
But besides increasing the amount of food being donated, which Ahrendt said Osoyoosites are always generous with, she really wants people to realize there are hunger problems right here in Osoyoos.
Too many people often forget there are homelessness and starvation problems in this town, not just in big cities, she said.
“I’ve had the general feeling, since I’ve taken over (at the Food Bank), that Osoyoos likes to think they don’t have a problem, but we have a lot of people here in this community who are suffering,” said Ahrendt. “I’d like people to be aware that there is a need here.”
In Kelowna there are roughly 400 people who live on the street or in shelters, she said, adding while there are far less on the streets in Osoyoos, the number here reflects the population and it’s an equally worrisome problem.
“I would really like to urge people that this is a fact,” said Ahrendt. “It’s not just a fantasy.”
Contributions can be made to the Osoyoos Food Bank by way of cash donations at Buy-Low Foods, Family Foods or the Bank of Montreal.
Food donations can be dropped off at the Osoyoos Baptist Church on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
In Canada alone, about 93,000 people turn to food banks every month, with nearly 40 per cent of those being children or youth.
Other facts about Food Bank use in Canada includes the fact that roughly seven per cent of all Food Bank users are over the age of 65 while 10 per cent are Aboriginals.
Additionally, 52 per cent of households that recieve some sort of help from the Food Bank also recieve some form of social assitance, and finally, 13 per cent of households also recieve disability related income support.
For more information on Hunger Awareness Week, call 1-877-5358-0958 or visit www.foodbankscanada.ca.