Poverty. Food security. At-risk communities. All phrases one would normally think about if you were visiting a country in the Global South. The truth is they are also realities here in Canada. Check the numbers and you’ll see that many families are in need right here at home.
Recently, I spent a few days involved in a couple of food drives. One was in Guelph, where the Speroway office is located and the other was in my home town of North Oakville. These are two communities with distinct and different problems. They both have needs but they both have their own personalities. The truth is that both have families who have trouble making ends meet – each with a story and some more difficult than others.
On Sunday, 625 volunteers from 14 faith groups gathered together in North Oakville where they collected 2,636 bags of food from their neighborhoods. This food was sorted and distributed to local food banks. Speroway was there to help with transportation. The next day our Speroway staff visited businesses in Guelph to collect boxes and bags of food donations. It was exciting to see how supportive our business park neighbours were. More than 600 pounds of food was collected, as well as some grocery store gift cards, for our local emergency food shelters!
It is an amazing opportunity to come alongside people who are in need of a helping hand and to see them receive it through the warmth and generosity of others in their community. I’m always stunned by the poverty here at home. Relative, moderate or extreme – it is not acceptable in our land of abundance. Bit by bit, we can make a difference!
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank said this week that extreme poverty would be eradicated by 2030. I have no idea if he’s right, but I like his thinking. What I do know is that we need to continue to make a difference here at home and around the world.
Speroway and its dedicated group of volunteers are on the ground. We are doing our best to meet people with food when they need it most. Once you recognize the presence of poverty here in Canada, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else than to deliver hope to Canadian communities!