It’s unfortunate, and we wish it wasn’t so, but food banks are vital resources in our communities.
We say we wish it wasn’t so, because we heartily wish that so many people weren’t forced to rely on them for the very sustenance they need to continue to live and breathe.
We wish everyone had a good job so they could afford to purchase enough food to eat, and put a roof over their heads, and put clothes on their backs.
But the fact of the matter is that a great many people do not have the funds for these things, and one of the first budgets that gets squeezed is the one for food.
We’re certain that when the first food bank in Canada opened in 1981 (yes, before that they didn’t exist) in Alberta the folks running it thought it would be a temporary measure. Surely our governments wouldn’t continue to let people go hungry. Little could they have suspected that food banks would soon spread from one shore of our country to another, with one in practically every community that is more than a few houses gathered around an intersection.
Over 7,000 food banks now serve more than 700,000 people every month, according to HungerCount 2008.
Fifty per cent of the households helped by a food bank have at least one child, and 37 per cent of food bank customers are children.
That’s an incredibly sobering thought and drives home the absolute need for the continued existence of food banks and food programs. Because even the most hard-hearted anti-socialist would be loathe to tell children they just need to fend for themselves when clearly that’s nonsense. That’s even if it was the Canadian way to leave people to starve, no matter what the age. And that’s not something we think reflects our Canadian, or our community values.
Which brings us to the predicament of the Lake Cowichan Food Bank. This is an important institution, feeding people in the community. There’s nothing more basic than that. And now it’s asking for the community’s help.
The building it’s situated in presently is scheduled for the bulldozers and it needs a new place to call home. It’s time for the community to come together like we know it can and find a solution. Chances are, even if you don’t know it, a friend or neighbour has used the service. It must continue.