submitted by the HG Society for Community Peace–Do you know that if you were to follow the Canada Food Guide, it would cost over $800 a month to feed a family of 2 adults, 1 teenager and 1 child?
Do you know that only food is included in this $800? There are no allowances for toothpaste, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, personal hygiene products, or laundry soap, etc.
This is from a survey run annually by the Dietitians of Canada. Also, it’s the position of these dietitians “that all Canadians must have food security” and that “it is the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. This is just one reason a small group of volunteers operate the Greater Masset Food Bank. The bags of food we distribute semi-monthly are intended as a supplement and are filled with enough food assistance for 3 or 4 days. We saw the need to establish community ownership for those that struggle to fill empty cupboards; with our main purpose being the ability to provide a dignified access to healthy food for all, without judgment or prejudice.
We run exclusively on volunteer hours and donations. Our food bank is evolving into a regular community service and it’s encouraging when people and businesses donate their support. This comes in the forms of such things as volunteers to unload the food when it is delivered, fill the food bags and distribute them. After a plea for volunteers last year, we received an overwhelming response. We have managed to establish a number of reliable volunteers from both communities of Old Massett and Masset and we are proud to say that not only do these include ‘food bank’ recipients we also have a small number of students from both the elementary and the high school who donate their time and effort. Thank you so much to all who responded. We all get busy in our own lives, but all it takes is an hour or two a month to make a big difference in our communities.
We have received continuous donations from Delmas Coop and our community shoppers who support us quite generously with the “Food for Hunger” bags. These are pre-filled bags of food that can be purchased at the checkout. Last year over $1,020 worth of food came from these bags? Thanks to all who can manage that extra $10.00 at the check-out!
Local businesses such as the Northern Savings Credit Union have run loonie auctions on our behalf and donated the proceeds. Gratitude is extended to all who support these auctions. Donations of money have been received from individuals, employees, businesses and members of boards of directors. This was most evident during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some individuals have given us gift certificates that were won by them in raffles. Others have donated bags of food or helped to fill up donation boxes in town. We received a ton of donated food from the wonderful students and staff at Tahayghen. Your gifts and efforts are admired and very much appreciated. There were oodles and oodles of baked Christmas goodies to hand out with the Christmas hampers. What a marvelous gift from all the bakers that donated. Howaa! Thanks also goes to the 50 or more citizens of Masset whose unclaimed Christmas turkeys were presented to us. And finally we have to acknowledge the generous support bestowed upon us through grant monies from Gwaii Trust. Without its assistance the Food Bank would be unable to supply all the food needed during each and every month.
It’s wonderful to know we have secured a place in the generous hearts of our communities’ members and businesses.
We’d like to emphasize the need for continued support throughout the year. We perpetually face the enormous challenge of finding funds to sustain our increasing needs. In 2006, we handed out 1232 bags of food. That’s an increase of 30-percent from 2005. The demand is quite apparent and as much as we may not like to think about it, this will be the reality for some time. There will always be someone who needs our assistance, whether it be short term where we address the immediate need of helping people feed themselves and their families or addressing the bigger picture of helping people help themselves over the long term.
Take the time to consider doing something worthwhile and positive. Whether you give your time, energy or money, there is never a minimum donation.
We can be reached through the Haida Gwaii Society for Community Peace or call Cathy Camp, 626-3466 or Corina Stewart-Burton, 626-3790. Howaa and thanks to everyone for a successful year.
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