Imagine being so hungry that you are willing to eat someone else’s garbage? Yes, it’s dangerous, and most of us would cringe at the thought, but there are people in cities everywhere who are forced to eat food from trashcans because they are starving and desperate.
In December 2012 The Salvation Army and Grey Canada, its advertising agency, embarked on a unique venture to educate a younger demographic, that typically wouldn’t donate financially to the organization, about Canada’s hunger tragedy.
A vending machine packed with food items that people living on the street are forced to choose was placed in Toronto’s Centennial College. A bold caption on the machine said “No-one chooses to eat garbage.”
Video captured students’ reactions when they realized the food items were anywhere from half-eaten hamburgers to left-over pizza slices to stale bread. Many students in disbelief took photos.
“While there are helpful resources for those who call the streets home,” says Andrew Burditt, The Salvation Army’s National Director of Marketing and Communications for Canada and Bermuda “a lot of people source out whatever food and shelter they can find.”
The Salvation Army and Hunger
The Salvation Army recognizes that dignity is a fundamental right for all, that everyone should be able to access nutritious food, and that no person should go hungry. As the nation’s largest non-governmental direct provider of social services, The Salvation Army provided approximately 2.8 million meals to Canadians last year.
A Salvation Army survey released in 2010 revealed that fully 10 percent of the country—about three million people—have experienced homelessness at least once in their lifetime, with many of these individuals turning to Salvation Army food centres in their time of need.
Food insecurity is something that is never planned. It can happen to anyone and is often the direct result of circumstances beyond an individual’s control.