As families gather together for turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, it’s a good time again to extend that generosity to those less fortunate in our communities.
The Salvation Army released a report this week that revealed more families are turning to its food programs and centres for assistance. One-third of Salvation Army food banks also reported seeing a decrease in donations at their centres within the last year.
“As long as they require the services offered by The Salvation Army, we will be here to provide them, as we have for the last 130 years,” said Graham Moore, public relations for The Salvation Army in Canada.
It’s important to answer the call for assistance from local organizations that work year round to support the families struggling to live above the poverty line.
At the same time, however, it’s also important to think of ways to work toward a more long-term sustainable solution for those same families where they become less dependent on local food banks.
Rather than continuously providing a hand-down to address their short-term needs, let’s provide a hand-up to give the support they need to support themselves.
Like the Habitat for Humanity projects. A recent survey showed that once families received initial assistance to own their homes, they felt empowered to break the cycle of poverty.
Furthermore, no child who grew up in a Habitat home has ever needed one himself, said Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity.
We recognize the solution is not simple, but rather complex and that it involves a host of factors such as addressing employment needs, government policies and providing other social supports.
But the solution will only come from the community putting our heads together and brainstorming ideas on how to start. We welcome your feedback and suggestions to get this dialogue going.
In the meantime, we should do what we can for those in need now. There’s no shortage of food drives taking place during the long weekend including the Fall Food Drive by North York Harvest Food Bank. The Daily Bread Food Bank is also hosting its annual Thanksgiving drive benefitting communities across the city.
Visit www.northyorkharvest and www.dailybread.ca to volunteer or for more information.