Food Bank Reduces Thanksgiving Stress

by Ontario Communications
Categories: Divisional News, Newswire

Having access to a food bank keeps single mom calm and hopefulBarbara, 33, doesn’t want to be a statistic. However, she is one of 850,000 Canadians assisted by food banks each month.

This Thanksgiving, when we consider our many privileges and opportunities, let’s take a minute to think about the hundreds of thousands of Canadian families who struggle to put food on the table.

“Sometimes my kids say ‘my tummy hurts’”, says Barbara. “Knowing they are hungry, and I can’t afford to feed them, makes me cry every day.”

Barbara lived in fear and endured abuse from her husband for years. In 2012, when he beat and assaulted her in front of her two young children, she knew they all had to get out.

“We live in a shelter,” says Barbara. “I don’t have the financial resources to access permanent housing.”

Meanwhile, social assistance doesn’t provide enough money for adequate food and Barbara relies on The Salvation Army’s food bank.

“Coming to the food bank keeps me calm,” says Barbara. “And the encouragement I get makes me feel I am worthy of much more.”

In Cedarbrae, Ont., The Salvation Army’s food bank serves 400 people each month.

“Our motto is a place to call home,” says Joan Harry, family services coordinator. “We want people to feel part of our family. We call them by name, we listen and we fuel self-worth—regardless of why they’ve come. The food bank isn’t just about handing food out to the hungry.”

At the food bank, clients select the food they want, similar to shopping at a grocery store. This encourages self-esteem and reduces the stress and humiliation of asking for food.

“The Salvation Army doesn’t make me feel like a failure,” says Barbara. “They help me stay focused on what matters to me and that’s keeping my kids safe and finding employment. This Thanksgiving, I just keep holding on to hope.”