Giveaways and Reviews

Feed The Hope

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know from time to time I document my recipe prep in the kitchen o  my IG Stories. I’ll often share a delicious recipe incorporating Catelli pasta (last week it was beef stroganoff with Catelli Egg Noodles, so good!) Beyond Catelli pasta being one of our pantry for years, the inclusion is because I’m a proud member of the Catelli Families Network this year, bringing you all the latest recipes, news and information! One very important campaign from Catelli this year is called Feed the Hope (www.feedthehope.ca)

The purpose of this initiative is to bring awareness and understanding about the food crisis that exists in Canada. Through open dialogue, honest talk and information we can all learn more and do better to help those around us. The need for the resources the Food Banks provide are surprisingly more common than you’d think. Consider these survey results:

– 1 in 5 Canadians have used a food bank at least once
– 1/3 of food bank users in Canada are children or youth
– 1 in 4  (27%) Manitobans/Saskatchewanians know someone who has used a food bank
– 1 in 4 (26%) perceive a child’s empty lunchbox as a sign of bad parenting
– 1/3 (34% ) of Canadians believe poor money management is the top reason people use a food bank

Not only did I learn that many more families are relying on the food bank than I thought, but the perception stated here – the parental judgment that comes with a child having an empty lunchbox – saddened me. This needs to change. We don’t know another person’s story. We may think we do, but we don’t, and having our own judgements about their struggles does nothing to help them.

So, the question then becomes, how can we help? If you’re like me, your kids typically come home in the fall with a note from school announcing a food drive for the local food bank, paper bag in hand. You dutifully go to your pantry, pull out canned goods, and send your kids on their way to school.

FeedTheHope.ca has a bunch of resources for Canadian families, including a PDF document that you can download and print, then put in your pantry, highlighting some of the items most needed by the food bank.

Fruits and veggies are always needed, and of course canned is the most sustainable for the food bank. Soups (especially vegetable) regularly go on sale for sometimes as little is 50 cents each, and tomato sauce regularly goes on sale for $1. Why not pick up extra the next time you’re shopping and start a Food Bank Box in your pantry or garage?

Beyond a box of macaroni, have you considered any of the items above for your Food Bank donation? I’ll admit, chickpeas and lentils never occurred to me until now to donate, and whole grain flour makes total sense too (it’s a pantry staple of almost every family). Pasta is always an easy item to grab extras of and again that’s another item that regularly goes on sale! Cereal is another great item to include that I can often find at the grocery store for $2/box.

Protein is something I’m sure the Food Banks have a hard time getting from family donations, simply because it’s not the first item we think of when reaching in the pantry to donate. However, canned tuna, salmon, sardines, and chicken are all regularly on sale and you can always add these to your Food Bank donation when they are. Peanut butter and nut butters are something I’ll be donating regularly, knowing how much protein growing kids need (remember, 1/3 of food bank users are children or youth and growing kids need lots of protein!)

I shared my Food Bank donation box and information about the Feed The Hope campaign with Global News Morning Regina viewers this week – check out the segment here!

Preparing and donating a box of food to your local food bank is a great way to open up a larger discussion within your family about the food crisis in Canada. I asked my kids if anyone in their class seems to be missing a lunch or is hungry after a lunch that didn’t have much in it, and beyond stories from my first-grade daughter about kids who forget their lunch from time to time, it doesn’t seem that anyone in their classes are going hungry. However, as mentioned before we don’t know everyone’s story so it’s important to remind our kids to be kind to others, and help if they see a need.

Here’s a great checklist, also from that same Food Bank Shopping List PDF available at FeedTheHope.ca:

To help spread the word about FeedTheHope.ca, Catelli is offering an awesome giveaway for readers! I’ve got a prize package valued at $50 in Catelli products for one lucky reader! Use it to help your own family food budget, or donate all or a portion to your local food bank or your friends and family to help them out too!

Disclosure: I am a Catelli Families Network blogger and am compensated for my participation. All opinions are, as always, my own.

 

78 Comments

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  • I live in a very expensive town and it’s no surprise to me that many people use the food banks here. With rent so high it’s hard for people to afford proper food. We even have one local who collects all the bread that the grocery stores are going to throw out because it’s close to its date and she distributes it to anyone who needs it. The community really works to help each other out!

  • I think the survey is an eye opener – the numbers for support is higher than I thought it was. However, it doesn’t 100% surprise me. Employment in my city still hasn’t rebounded to pre-oil crash days so it makes sense that there is still high food bank demand.

  • I think it’s sad that so many people have to use the food banks but I am grateful that there are some resources out there to help take a little bit of weight off people’s shoulders.

  • Some of things on the survey surprised me. 1 in 4 (26%) perceive a child’s empty lunchbox as a sign of bad parenting. No one should judge because they do not know how many days that parent has gone without to make sure their children had food at home and they could have just run out of everything.
    The amount that thought it was poor money management was higher than I thought. If you make minimum wage and pay rent and daycare it would take most of your cheque. There is little left for food and the prices keep rising but not income.
    I am glad there are companies helping those who struggle and also for agencies that put food in school kitchens so staff and volunteers can feed those children who come to school with no breakfast or an empty lunchbox.
    There really is a food crisis and not being able to feed your children would be so stressful!

  • I’m not really surprised by the results. Wages don’t necessarily keep pace with the cost of living and those on fixed incomes (ie. disability, senior’s pensions) certainly keep one’s income far below the poverty line and needing to prioritize housing or hydro over food.

  • …and there are probably so many more people who should be accessing the food bank but don’t for fear of being judged.

  • I think it’s hard for some people to imagine what its like for a family unable to afford enough food. It’s definitely a problem for so many families. 🙁

  • I’m not overly surprised at the results as I live in Manitoba. However do find it disheartening this is the case in Canada. I was happy to see they opened up a food bank in Winnipeg where the customers can shop like a regular grocery store instead of being given food they may not like or eat.

  • I’m not surprised by the survey results but it does make me sad. The cost of everything is constantly going up making more people need help and also making it harder for people to have extra to donate. I think crisis is definitely the right word for what is happening in many Canadian homes.

  • Groceries like everything else in this country are getting more and more expensive. There’s the working poor, retirees and welfare recipients who would be in need of help. But until our government stops giving our money away and stops spending like there’s no tomorrow it’s not going to get any better. Plus there’s not enough jobs for the people that are already here but they keep letting more people in. So there’s no end in site.

  • I find it so sad that there is a need for a food bank at all, but not surprising. I use to be a lunch mom supervisor at my children school and I had to report if a child at no lunch for more then a couple days as they had a program in place to provide lunch to the children with no lunch. If they forgot their lunch we just ask if anyone had extra to share with them.

  • I’m not surprise that there is an increase in the amount of people that use the food bank. Things are become more expensive, but wages do not increase by the same amount.

  • We help out at a local shelter and it is quite clear that there is a tremendous need for food bank support, more than most of us realize. We have several gardens each summer and donate most of the produce as healthy choices are often not available over processed foods.

  • I believe these stats, and that is why I donate to my local food bank often! I think its important to give back and help others who need it!

  • I know a few people that use the food banks, I do try to help out when I can. Its is sad but food is getting expensive and not every one can buy some food for their table

  • I believe these statistics 100%! It’s sad and I think it’s going to becoming more of an issue as the cost of living goes up

  • So many people in our community use the food bank, and it’s sad because the only grocery store we have in town is privately owned so the prices are very high and I don’t even shop there, I need to go out of town, and i believe there is a crisis, with the rising costs especially the healthy foods, it’s crazy and a lot can not afford. And it really makes me upset that this grocery store throws out tons of food everyday that could be given to those in need, it’s disgusting!!

  • It is pretty sad when you see the survey results, definitely never thought it was that bad. It is great that there are places like the food bank out there to help but also makes me realize that I need to donate more often.

  • The survey is great give a person a better understanding of how things are, I know the food banks are in crisis as they are used by so many, I live in an oil town and not everyone here is employed in the oil business and so many are hit hard by the high prices here and have no choice but to use the food bank, we are also lucky that our small town offers a free meal wkly to those who need it

  • I’m not too shocked about these results but saddened because most wages are not rising in proportion to the cost of living and you are so right about not knowing another person’s story and pre judging the situation.

  • I believe the statistics. I help run the snack program at my daughters school. It’s sad how many kids rely on this program. 😢 But it’s a sad reality.

  • Feed the Hope is a great campaign (with a catchy name!), I love the food ideas for donations, everyone should seriously think about giving to the food banks, it’s easy and rewarding

  • It is so sad and unfortunate that so many people need to rely on the food bank to feed their family. I am not sure what we can do to change this statistic. But for those who can, making donations of healthy food is so easy and important to do!

  • I am heavily involved in our local food bank so the survey comes as no surprise. What is frightening is how rapidly the people in need of our local food bank is growing. There are so many ways to contribute. If you have fruit trees and are not be able to utilize an abundant crop…pass the excess on to your local food bank. Hosting a family reunion or large BBQ this summer..why not have everyone bring something to donate.

  • It is so sad that so many people do not have enough money for food 🙁 I know I have been there in the past, and try to help out the food bank in my area whenever it is possible.

  • It’s sad but it’s true. I hope this encourages people to donate to local food banks. It really does help and make a difference!

  • Such an important topics. Being able to feed one’s family is of critical importance, and it’s getting super expensive!

  • as an educator I see first hand students who are hungry and help families access food services like the food bank.

  • I have friends/family/people I meet have a difficult time who have to use the food banks, I myself have had to use them. Times are tough! Guess they always have been

  • oh my gosh this is so sad! I had no idea there was this big of a problem. It is something you never really hear about or is talked about 🙁

  • This survey really set me on edge–I had no idea we were in such a dire state. I’m grateful to know there are initiatives in place to address this need.

  • I’m not at all surprised. As someone currently struggling and relying on food bank donations to help make the food stretch for my kids, it is shocking the quality of the food that we are given, with expiry dates/best before dates sometimes years in the past, open boxes of cereals/pastas/crackers, product that is damaged, … I would estimate that for every food order I receive, 1/3 of it is garbage that has to be thrown out.

  • Definitely sad to see, the world i actually abundant in resources. I think it’s in the monetary society that there is this issue. It’s no surprise that people don’t have their needs met. I try and help.

  • there is a real need for food for people in canada. we seem to find money for many causes but not for those in real need.

  • I know it is happening but until you read the numbers is when I realize that the problem is widespread and not just in my community.

  • I think it is very sad that so many people are going hungry in our country,and that 1 in 4 perceive a child’s empty lunchbox as a sign of bad parenting. I can see that as being true,which is sad.

  • I think that it’s a sad reality, but think it’s great that there are resources available to offer assistance.

  • I’m not shocked by the results of the survey. Its sad that this is still a huge issue at this point in time.

  • I do feel there is a food crisis in Canada and many people bury their heads in the sand like ostriches hoping it will go away. The survey is right on target.

  • It was really an eye opener. Not surprised though as lots of kids at my daughter’s school go to school with no breakfast or lunch and we have organized a few fundraisers at school to help these families. Also, more and more people are using food banks.

  • It does not really surprise me. Use of food banks has risen and it is such a shame that as a country we have so much food waste but there are still people who are hungry.

  • I think times are tough.. and there is definitely a food crisis.. I find it hard to understand how my own kids are going to be able to afford homes, clothing and food for themselves – it is a totally different environment from when I was a child. There are times when I don’t even know how to put food on my table. The numbers in the survey are shocking but, at the same time, I find them believeable.

  • I know the Food Bank in my town is well-used. I can well believe that affording healthy food is an issue all across Canada.

  • I would never judge someone who’s child has less than the next. we never know the background on that home, says more about the people judging than the person who could’t fill their childs lunchbox to the brim with great food.
    Been in their shoes, compassion goes a long way!

    Throw in that extra box of Cheerios in the cart/ and into the food bank bin on your next trip to the store so that the kids can start their day off with a meal. 🙂

  • I see the line-ups for the food bank near my house and have visited food banks as part of work so I am aware of the food crisis in my area. I believe that it is probably representative of many cities in Canada.

  • I think it’s important to donate food of good quality , not expired and such. A little seems to go a long way

  • It is a sad and unfortunate truth that many people do need to use the Food Banks in their city or town but I am grateful that they are there for those that do need them. All of the donations they receive go towards helping a lot of families get food on their tables.

  • It’s heartbreaking that the survey results confirmed that there is a food crisis in Canada, with so many families relying on the assistance of food banks.

  • I know with the rising food costs its harder to make ends meet. I feel the middle class is getting smaller and the percentage of people living under the poverty line or just above ot is getting way larger. I have a decent paying job in healthcare and im an avid couponer but i can say i dont usually havr much extra. I do my best to donate to food banks and i am glad theu are there for people in need .

  • It’s very concerning to me that there is still a food crisis. There are many families who work hard and still can’t afford food. Thank goodness there are places that can help people when they need it. No one in modern day society should ever have to go without food.

  • The survey definitely opened my eyes. It is a sad state of affairs that this should occur in Canada. I’m glad that the food banks are there to help.

  • The survey does not surprise me, I don’t know how anyone is supposed to live making minimum wage and support a family

  • I had a friend who left her husband and had to use a food bank. She told me afterwards…I was so grateful she told me and shared. I know it’s a reality and help is needed…

  • My thoughts on the survey were how I expected them. The reality that there is a food crisis in Canada is also not surprising. Perhaps there should be a money management course taught to children early and throughout the grades to help them be good shoppers. I know that this is not the only reason but some of the problem is money management by parents and if the children are not taught they do not know any different.

  • I am glad that these numbers are available for every Canadian to see. What surprises me is that there are people who DON’T know there is a food crisis in Canada. The prices of food — fruit, meat, bread, non-perishable items — all of it just continues to go up. And the prices that haven’t gone up is usually because the quantity has gone down. Our food is way to expensive.
    I hope this survey is used by all Canadians to foster support for those who are struggling because the reality is food is incredibly expensive (yes even when you are buying on sale and in season). And for those that can help — wether at a personal level (a childs classroom) or a community level (Food Bank) please do.
    Thank you for presenting all of this information to your readers

  • Well this mostly isn’t news. I have known about this for some time. I am involved in my community trying to help

  • I am not greatly surprised by the statistics because I live in Toronto. There is a shortage of affordable rental income in our great city and even though there has been a recent rise in Ontario’s minimum wage, it does not afford the average full time worker a living wage. Often food quantity and food quality lose priority due to othe costs of living because of these factors.

  • Everything is so expensive is Vancouver it is easy to see that families are having a hard time making ends meet.

  • I was not surprised by the number of people accessing the food bank but it does make my heart hurt. No one in Canada should go hungry!

  • not surprised. working at the food bank, you can see there is increasing need and a great deal of stigma attached to making the request so people try very hard to hide how difficult it is to feed their family. thanks