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Fighting Hunger at the Holidays

Shari Ilsen at VolunteerMatch asked us to participate in their “blogging extravaganza” to help “fight hunger over the holidays.” Their organization has “adopted the hunger cause as a focus for the month of December” and asked a number of bloggers to “use the power of our networks to fight hunger.”

As their post on the Engaging Volunteers Blog notes, hunger is a “critical issue”  and we should all be concerned by the startling statistics they note:

  • “One in six people in America faces hunger.”
  • In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.

As Sheri suggests in her post, “it’s a “special month for a critical cause...especially this time of year, the difference between those that do and do not have to worry about their next meal is in stark relief.”

So for our part, we thought we’d focus on some of the organizations that are making a difference in fighting hunger across Canada.

The state of hunger in Canada:

In their report, Hunger Count 2012, Food Banks Canada notes: “Hunger is toxic for those living through it and it is harmful to Canada as a whole.” 

Statistics on Food Bank Use:

While Canada is a smaller nation than the U.S., our hunger statistics are equally bleak. According to Food Banks Canada:

  • In March of this year, 882,188 people received food from a food bank in Canada.
  • This is an increase of 2.4% over 2011, and is 31% higher than in 2008, before  the recession began.

Who turns to food banks?

Hunger Count 2012 also notes that over “the past four years, the need for food banks has expanded broadly. Even those who we might least expect to visit a food bank, including working  people, two-parent families, seniors, and homeowners, are experiencing a higher risk of needing help than in the past."  

Here are some of the statistics from their Hunger Count 2012 report that describe food bank users:

  • 93,000 people each month access a food bank for the first time
  • 38% of those turning to food banks are children and youth
  • 4% of adults helped are over age 65
  • 11% of people assisted are Aboriginal

Supporting hunger initiatives over the holidays

With the need for support from food banks growing, many of us might be considering a donation to one of these organizations over the holiday season.  So we thought we’d have a look at Charity Intelligence’s “Top Picks for 2012” to see what hunger-related charities they might recommend to potential donors. 

It was interesting to note that their Top Picks included 7 Canadian food banks, including:

  1. Calgary Food Bank, Calgary, Alberta
  2. Food Bank, Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta
  3. Food For Life Canada, Oakville, Ontario
  4. Fort York Food Bank, Toronto, Ontario 
  5. Inner City Home of Sudbury, Sudbury, Ontario
  6. Ottawa Food Bank, Ottawa, Ontario
  7. Second Harvest, Toronto, Ontario 

Since Charity Intelligence does research and analysis on Canadian charities to help donors make their own giving decisions, you can feel confident that supporting food banks, such as those listed in their "Top Picks" offers a great return on your investment.  And I'm sure that this is the case for food banks across North America.

More insight into hunger from VolunteerMatch

This is just a sample of the amazing efforts that non-profits are making to ease hunger in North America.  For more ideas and insight into fighting hunger, follow the Engaging Volunteers Blog and Volunteering is CSR Blog throughout the month of December. VolunteerMatch has also “built tools and special trainings to help nonprofits engage volunteers in the fight against hunger, and to help individuals connect with organizations that need their help.”

This month, VolunteerMatch asks that we all "spread the word within [our] community about the many opportunities to fight hunger this holiday season, and together, we can put a dent in hunger.

Image source:  Courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com


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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Wednesday, 12 December 2012 at 8:30 AM
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