I’ve read a few articles lately about how foodbanks across Canada are expecting more visitors as #CERB ends in a month. These pieces have made me reflect.
Food banks have existed here in Canada for ~40 years. We all love the emergency work they do. But the wound is much larger.
Yes, hungry people need to be fed. But the way we’ve been doing it for nearly four decades (the emergency food model) isn’t decreasing the number of hungry people. Food bank demand grows every year. We all love Food Banks for emergency food, but we need a long-term solution.
This isn’t just on food banks. Politicians play a huge role. If #CERB helped keep people away from food banks, perhaps our politicians should be looking at a minimum basic income. All levels of gov need to look at why people use food banks.
I believe we need to meet people where they are at, pandemic or not. We need to help people access food in a dignified and equitable way, and with food that is healthy and culturally appropriate. What does this actually look like?
Maybe it’s introducing @Leftoversyyc’s pay-what-you-want grocery stores into our food system. Maybe it’s getting Fresh Routes affordable Mobile Grocery Store to more locations. Maybe it’s school lunches and breakfasts through other food serving orgs. It's likely all of the above.
The thing is, there isn’t one magic answer. If there was, the problem of food insecurity would have been solved already. The pandemic has forced many organizations to quickly and creatively work together to solve problems. I’m hoping to see more of this from food-serving orgs.
Instead of bracing for increased demand by stockpiling food + asking for donations, our communities + governments need to come up with more dignified ways to meet AND DECREASE demand.
For 35+ years, we’ve asked Canadians to tell us how poor they are to access emergency food. Then, they travel to pick up food that is often not culturally appropriate. And they're only allowed to do this a handful of times per year. There's got to be a better way.
Don’t get me wrong. Food Banks are part of the solution! We love partnering with the ones we do. @Leftoversyyc is also a hand-out model for excess food! But, I believe we need more collaboration for long-term solutions, instead of the band-aid we’ve been re-applying for decades.
Every Canadian deserves access to good, healthy food, in a dignified way.
You can follow @lourdesmjuan.
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