Today, October 16th, is World Food Day. In recognition of this day and of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Women’s Resource Centre held a ‘Lunch and Learn’. It was my first time attending this event although it is held every year. It was encouraging to hear of the work that was done after last years event. The theme last year had been Heat Poverty- referring to how one component or indication of poverty is the inability of many families to heat their homes in the winter time. This is something many of us take for granted. I know I do… I can’t stand the cold but I know that as soon as I enter my house on a windy and blistering winter day, I will be welcomed by cozy in-floor heating that travels through my feet and warms my entire body.
This year’s theme was Food Security. It is always surprising to learn that in our wealthy country of Canada and even in this very town, there are people who have a hard time getting enough food to feed themselves and their families. Last night I attended a Hunger Banquet on campus. Some people got to eat a nice meal of baked potatoes, chicken and vegetables with juice on the side and dessert. Others were fed, rice and beans and drank orange juice. A third group, of which I was a part, ate rice. plain white, no salt, no pepper, no soya sauce, not even the scented kind, rice. Oh, and we drank water. It was a simple simulation of what people all over the world experience every day.
Many of us know that people are starving all over the world and under our very noses, it is good to be reminded of this reality. Not so much that we become immune to this knowledge but so that we are moved into doing something about it. I wish more people had been there. But I was there, and others were as well and we are able to do something.
Back to today. Each of us at the Lunch and Learn were asked to write down one more ways that we would personally act to combat food security in our community and/or province. I wrote that I would buy more local food and donate more to the food bank. Small gestures I know, but they’re something for now. Hold me to this.