Food obviously holds a very warm place in my heart – the kitchen is where I spend my afternoons, working on dinner, while I talk to the kids about their day, or throw a dance party to put everyone in a better mood (we even have a disco light hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen). But for so many people in our communities, food is a is a constant reminder of a struggle they’re facing. 1 in 8 families, and 1 in 6 children, face hunger on a regular basis. This is a scary number, especially in a country where there seems to be so much abundance. It’s also a number that is only going to get bigger as food prices continue to skyrocket, and our economy continues to plunge. It’s scary.
I’ve championed the need to combat hunger in our communities before on here, it’s a cause I truly believe in. That’s why I was so excited to get to partner up with Maple Leaf Foods on their #FeedItForward Campaign. They are giving 10,000 families across Canada $100 in free groceries (that’s $100,000!!). That’s not all they’re doing though, and this is where I come in. They’re also giving back to the volunteers and causes that are dedicated to helping those people in need. Go to Feed It Forward Donation and nominate someone in your community who’s going above and beyond to use food to better the lives of others. They could win one of ten $10,000 donations to the charity that they volunteer with, as well as free Maple Leaf groceries for the year. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, just by nominating them, you could win free groceries too!
Now that I’ve got you here though, and hopefully thinking about who you’re going to nominate, I’d like to highlight the work of a volunteer in my own community. Pearle volunteers at Helping Hand Food Bank here in Bradford, a community volunteer driven not-for-profit. My town has a population of just under 30,000 people, and out of that over 400 families, couples, and singles need help from our food bank. Pearle has been volunteering here for 9 years, after one of her friends (who is also a volunteer at the food bank), told her to come along one day. She’s been there ever since, along with over 150 other volunteers, helping to enrich the lives of others by eliminating hunger. It’s really incredible to me, that in a smaller community like ours, over 150 people are dedicating their free time to make sure others are getting the help they need. It makes me proud to live in Bradford.
I believe that no matter where you are in life, helping others however you can should always be front of mind. We are a one income family, and while I’m very lucky to be in this position, I realize that we’re really only a couple of paycheques away from needing help ourselves. Showing my kids how important it is to give back to the community has always been a priority, and it’s why we try to buy a bag of food for the food bank each week when we grocery shop. It’s only $10, $15, or $20 out of our grocery budget, and I just do what we can afford that week.
Every dollar truly counts to community organizations like this, and I was honoured to be able to take the kids to the grocery store this week on a special trip to buy groceries for them thanks to Maple Leaf Foods. After talking with Pearle, we were able to tie our shopping trip into what the food bank was currently low on: flour, cereal, crackers, pasta sauce, sugar, tea bags, coffee, peanut butter, jam, condiments, and salad dressings. It was so easy for us: just shop, and then drop the bags off in a bin before even leaving the store, where a volunteer will pick them up later and bring them to the food bank. I’ve never walked out of a store empty handed but feeling so fulfilled before.
If you’re in Bradford as well, here are some things you may not know about donating to Helping Hand Food Bank, which I’m sure are also true for food banks in other communities:
- Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter are the times of year when they receive the most donations.
- The summer is their slow time, when they could really use more donations
- They gladly accept cash donations, which make it easier for them to stock up on items that they’re low on
- They also take donations of fresh produce (I had no idea about this!), formula, and diapers
- They already get tons of mac and cheese, so think more about pasta sauces, salad dressings, and condiments
- Don’t forget about basics, like tea, coffee, sugar, and flour
If you’re interested in learning more or donating to Helping Hand Food Bank, they’re located at 123 Moore Street in Bradford, Ontario, and their phone number is 905-775-2824.
Please, take the time to nominate an organization or individual in your community that is making a difference through food. Help them win $10,000 for their organization, and free groceries for themselves. Don’t forget that just by nominating, you get the chance to win free groceries too!
This blog post was sponsored by Maple Leaf Foods but the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.