At this time of year, during the season of giving, people are collecting donations of food and money to support food banks.
The level of generosity is impressive and these donations are helping individuals and families through what could otherwise be a bleak and dismal festive season.
In a country as rich as Canada, food banks should not be needed. However, the reality is that the number of food bank recipients in this country is continuing to increase. The need for this assistance remains throughout the year.
According to Food Banks B.C., food banks in this province provide more than 125,000 meals to British Columbians. The number of visits has been increasing in recent years.
Nearly one-third of all food bank users in this province are children, and the number of seniors using these services has increased by 20 per cent over the last two years.
Nationwide, while nearly half of the recipients are on social assistance or disability-related supports, one in seven are people who are employed.
The donations and food drives at this time of year are helpful, but they are not enough.
People are struggling to feed themselves and their families at all times of the year. Poverty and hunger affect individuals and families long after the festive season has ended. The spirit of giving shown in December is just as important in March or August or October.
In addition, the issues leading to hunger and poverty are complex, and addressing these issues is just as important as providing food to those in need.
Social assistance funding, pension rates, housing costs and other factors all contribute to the need for food banks.
Until these issues are addressed and until action is taken, the need for public generosity will continue, throughout the year.
– Black Press Media