How does it feel to be hungry? Unfortunately, according to the organizers of Hunger Awareness Week, hundreds of thousands of people in this country know the answer to that question. This is the first year that Hunger Awareness Day, which launched back in 2006, is expanding into a full week-long event. It's an opportunity to talk about hunger, who it affects, and how to take action to reduce hunger across this country.
According to the Hunger Awareness Week website, hunger in Canada "exists because deep and persistent poverty continues in the country" and "people living in poverty cannot afford sufficient, nutritious food". The campaign's mission is to tell the story of food banks and the people helped by them. And one aspect of that story is the rise in food bank use over the last few years: in 2011, nearly 900,000 Canadians used food banks each month. That's 26 percent higher than the levels experienced before the 2008-2009 recession. And 38 percent of those turning to food banks are children and youth.
There are lots of ways to get involved in the fight against hunger in Canada. Click the images below for more information.
The Give It Up For Hunger initiative asks Canadians to give up your lunches or a food staple for a week in order to experience hunger for yourself, then share your experience online, and finally, donate food, funds or your time to a local food bank.
A Lunch-In is a gesture of solidarity with people who are hungry in this country. It's an event where a group of people get together to eat lunch, bringing along donations of food and money to help food banks do their work. Learn more about how to organize your own Lunch-In right here.
Food Banks Canada has put together a quiz to help you learn more about how hunger affects Canadians. Check it out right here.
If you want to let your friends, family or local politicians know about Hunger Awareness Week, you can email them a postcard from Food Banks Canada with some basic information about the initiative.
Feed Your Followers Some Hunger Awareness
Social media is a great way to spread the word about hunger. Here's a sample tweet and Facebook post to get the word out:
Sample Tweet: Give it up for hunger. Give up a staple food item or lunches 4 the week to mark #hungerawarewk @foodbankscanada
Sample Facebook Post: Join us in marking Hunger Awareness Week with @Food Banks Canada: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/318574124875644/. By attending this event you will be symbolically taking part in an important movement across the nation to help our fellow neighbours in need.
If you want to take the message of Hunger Awareness Week to your workplace, or contact local media, you can get a HAW Toolkit right here. It includes a Food Bank Letter, an order form for HAW Materials, a suggested letter to the editor and local news release for media, and digital posters, a poster, and a supporter's guide to social media.
Related stories on Strombo.com: