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.