News and views from the Amherst Food Bank
Saturday, April 26 is Make a Difference Day in Amherst as the Cumberland Y Service Club and Amherst Y’s Menettes will hold their annual spring food drive for the Amherst food bank from 10 am to noon in conjunction with other community volunteers.
If you’re not going to be home please leave your food bag on the front step. The spring food drive is crucial in helping to restock the food bank shelves after the long winter months.
Some interesting statistics can be found in Food Bank Canada’s report from Hunger Count 2013 conducted by food banks across the country, including Amherst.
In March 2013, 833,098 people turned to a food bank in Canada, down from 872,379 the previous March. Underlying this small drop is a concern of enormous proportions: food bank use remains higher than it was before the recession began five years ago.
Here in Nova Scotia, 21,760 people were assisted, 32 per cent were children. Although the numbers were down 7.6 per cent from 2012, food bank usage in Nova Scotia increased 28.6 per cent from 2008 to 2013.
Who are the people helped by food banks? 36 per cent are children and youth, 11 per cent are aboriginal, 4 per cent are seniors, 1 in 6 have income from current or recent employment, 1 in 10 helped each month are accessing a food bank for the first time, 11 per cent are new immigrants, half of households assisted are families with children and 1 in 4 line on an old age or disability pension.
Though people come to a food bank for many reasons – the loss of a job, family breakup, sudden health problems, among others – it is the widespread lack of income to cushion hard times that is the key factor than makes Canadian food banks so necessary.
May 5 to 9, 2014 has been designated “Hunger Awareness Week” across Canada. This year’s theme is, “Give Hunger a Voice” which is about encouraging people to talk about hunger, particularly revealing their experiences with food insecurity.
Food banks touch so many lives in communities right across Canada. People are encouraged to share their stories at www.hungerawarenessweek.ca. You can also post videos and pictures stories to twitter and Facebook using the hash tag #HungerWeek.
There are many ways for you to get involved in Hunger Awareness Week - hold an event such as a food drive, awareness raising activities, social media drive or a corporate challenge.
Monetary donations to the Amherst food bank can be mailed to the Amherst Food Assistance Network at P.O. Box 45, Amherst, NS B4H 3Y6.
Food, personal hygiene and baby supplies may be dropped off at the Food Bank location on King Street. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. for clients. Drop off boxes for the food bank are located at Sobeys, Bank of Nova Scotia main branch, RBC, Walmart and Credit Union.
Donations are also accepted at the food bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but it is not open to clients on these days.
– Submitted by Ron Robinson