“At the food bank, the greatest thing we can give people is choice,” says Elliott Innes, Salvation Army community and family services manager in Fort Erie, Ont. “That’s why we don’t make pre-made hampers. We let people choose what their needs are.”
One in five Canadians skip meals to make ends meet and food banks have become a primary resource to combat hunger.
“I’m totally humiliated after running out of food and money,” says one food bank user. “Before losing my job I always knew I was going to eat. Visiting a food bank can be a slow, painful death of my soul, so I’m grateful to be treated with respect.”
The Salvation Army aims to restore dignity in people who have been forced to use food banks by providing a grocery-store like shopping experience and educating users how to read labels to make healthy choices.
The first food bank in Canada opened its doors in 1981 in Edmonton. While food banks were originally intended to be a temporary measure, the stark reality is that the need for them continued—and in fact grew.
More than 40 per cent of Canadians know someone who has used a food bank. It’s time to end poverty in Canada.