When I am hungry, I am a little bit mean – a rule of thumb around here is that if I don’t have anything nice to say, someone should hand me a granola bar. When Nick is hungry, he is dumb and stumbles, the effect worse in him because low-blood sugar and its consequences are a hazard of diabetes. When our little minion is hungry, he whines and drapes himself over furniture and tells us he is very upset right now, and that he is dying of not having any treats. We’re looking into drama programs for Kindergartners. He’s going to be a star.
For people for whom there isn’t a simple fix – a trip to the pantry to restore moods and blood glucose and rumbling tummies – hunger can be consuming, reducing our ability to learn and retain information, to manage our behaviour and emotional responses, and to make rational decisions. In children, prolonged periods of malnutrition or hunger contribute to developmental delays and missed milestones – the stress and effects of hunger on a child can have lifelong cognitive and physical consequences.
And while many of us spend a lot of time moaning and complaining about the cost of living in Vancouver, the reality is that the entire Metro Vancouver region – 21 distinct municipalities occupying 2,877 square kilometers, and home to more than 2.5 million people – is a place where the basic necessities of daily life – housing, childcare, transportation, groceries – are increasingly difficult to cover on incomes that have not kept pace with rising costs.
This is how it is in a lot of places. I know. It’s hard out there right now. (Side note: eastern Canada, if you’re hiring, I’m interested.)
Food banks, and food insecurity and affordability in general, are the issues that matter most to me, which is why I’m delighted to be participating in another initiative that’s helping to get nutritious, wholesome food to the people and families who need it.
I was recently invited to participate in a fundraising event from the SHARE Family and Community Services Society, the largest social service provider in the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody). Their annual fundraising event, IMAGINE, takes place Saturday, March 5, and I’ll be participating as a judge in The Hamper Challenge. The Hamper Challenge is a Master Chef-inspired cooking competition in which local chefs will be paired with local mayors to prepare two-course meals from SHARE food bank hampers.
- Distributing out of three locations, the SHARE Food Bank serves over 5,000 people each year.
- 35 per cent of SHARE Food Bank users are under the age of 19.
- Food Banks receive no government funding so, SHARE relies entirely on the generosity of the community: individuals, businesses, associations, sports teams, churches, and community granting agencies, among others.
- Last year, SHARE distributed close to 19,000 food bank hampers and 650,000 pounds of food with a retail value of more than $1.6 million.
- Food Bank clients can use SHARE services twice per month and the food they
receive is of supplementary assistance. It would last a family three or four days and
enable them to save money they can put towards rent, gas, or other life expenses.
Why am I telling you this?
Because if you’re local to Metro Vancouver, you can participate too.
Come out to the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver Theatre in Coquitlam on March 5, from 7:00 p.m. on, and enjoy an evening filled with great food, fun people (and me!), live entertainment, auctions, raffle prizes, and more! Tickets are $85 each, which includes the opportunity to sample the best sweets and savouries on offer from the region’s best restaurants – be sure to vote for your favourites!
Last year, IMAGINE raised over $105,000, enabling SHARE to deliver vital programs and services to over 56,000 Tri-Cities community residents.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit sharesociety.ca/imagine. I also have tickets to give away – enter the raffle below to win two tickets to the event, which will be available at will call on March 5. The raffle closes on March 3.
If you can’t attend, but still want to support IMAGINE 2016, you can donate online. I hope to see you there!