On October 16, World Food Day will heighten public awareness of the world food problem. The theme of this year’s observance is United Against Hunger. United Against Hunger becomes real when partnerships develop at all levels to defeat hunger, extreme poverty and malnutrition.
In Canada, close to 800,000 hungry people are assisted by a food bank every month. Fifty-seven-year-old Ethel Woodhouse is one.
Ethel doesn’t have the resources, means, choices or power necessary to acquire and maintain economic self-reliance. Following an accident many years ago Ethel was unable to work. She was completely dependent on her husband. Then, three years ago, her home burned to the ground and days later her husband of 17 years died from a massive heart.
“I was devastated,” Ethel tearfully recalls. “I literally had nothing. I moved in with friends. Before long they told me I should go to the Weetamah Salvation Army Community Centre, located in Winnipeg’s downtown core, where I could get clothes and food. It was a place of new beginnings for me.”
“We’re trying to be more than a food bank,” says Mark Young, director. “We know some people need more than just soup. There’s more to what’s going on in their lives. We want to be supportive and help them for however long they need that help, until they feel they can continue the journey on their own.”
When The Salvation Army helped Ethel she wanted to give back and began volunteering at the food bank. She stocks and organizes shelves, fills hampers and greets customers with a terrific smile.
“Weetamah is my second home,” says Ethel. “The Salvation Army has restored my self-confidence and hope for the future.”
According to food banks Canada, 2.7 million Canadians will experience household food insecurity at some point during the year.
When you donate money or food to a Salvation Army food bank, soup kitchen, school breakfast or lunch program, you’re helping to provide one of life’s most basic necessities to those who need it most.