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Change can only come if we, as a province, work together to advocate for long-term change and the solutions that will eliminate both hunger and poverty.
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Canada's poorest communities are least able to address the effects of poverty with a charitable response. As the rate of poverty in a given community increases, the number of donors available to support charitable efforts - and the ability of charities to address the effects of poverty - decreases.
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It's not just giving at the door.
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Food banks see clients facing these challenges every day, and have responded with innovative programming that not only increases access to healthy food, but turns it into an opportunity to build community. Within the OAFB network, there are food banks in all corners of the province that offer innovative, healthy food options to clients. Here are just a few.
In the 2016 HungerCount report, Food Banks Canada called on the federal government to implement a poverty reduction strategy no later than the fall of 2017. Canadians who are struggling with food insecurity cannot wait years for the federal government to act. They need help now, today.
Supermarkets in the province have started diverting unsold but edible food to food banks for distribution to the hungry.
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"People tend to want to give us a can of soup and box of Kraft Dinner, which is fine, but we're trying to also source higher-quality nutritional value food."
We didn't want charity, especially when we needed it the most. Yet it was the blind kindness of strangers that made the toughest of times a little less daunting. A full belly was one of our first steps towards a fuller life. What was once a source of shame for my family is now an important part of our story.
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Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch started doing crazy things like praising Donald Trump, or threatening to dismantle the CBC, or talking about "Canadian values" in a way that everyone recognized as overtly racist and xenophobic. That's not what our community is about. That's not who we are.
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How many of us have seen food banks open their doors in our home towns? The reasons may differ by region -- the decline of manufacturing in Ontario and Quebec, fisheries in Atlantic Canada, farming in the prairies, forestry in the northwest -- but the overall reality is similar across the country. The economic landscape is fundamentally changed.
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No one wants quality, safe food to be wasted. A greater focus on food rescue efforts can increase the amount of all types of foods, and especially desirable perishable products, to ensure all families can put a wholesome meal on the table.
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The report recommends the Liberal government among other things fast track a poverty reduction strategy and revamp the welfare system in Canada.
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Last week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau warned young Canadians that they should get used to what is known as "job churn" -- short-term employment, with many career changes. Recent reports seem to be supporting his claims.
Looking at the food system in Canada is a study in contrasts. On one hand, one in eight Canadian families struggle to put food on the table, and over 800,000 people visit a food bank each month. On the other hand, we waste $31 billion in food each year, or a third of what we produce. How can a country with so much abundance also have such great need? As with any problem that is so enormous in scale, the reasons are complex, the impacts are wide-ranging, and the solutions are far from easy.