Did you know that one in eight families and one in six children in Canada face hunger on a regular basis? I think that’s unacceptable, and I hope you feel the same way. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Maple Leaf Foods to tell you about this opportunity to do something about it. Please share with anyone who might benefit from this program.
Unfortunately, as a social worker I’m very familiar with the fact that many families and their children across Canada struggle with food security on a regular basis. Before becoming a mom, I worked with homeless young people and pregnant women, helping them access basic needs like food and shelter, support services, and resources for escaping poverty. We handed out sandwiches and fruit, and once a week we hosted a hot meal for anyone who needed it.
Eating food – breaking bread together – creates community in every place and every time. We would take turns serving food and then sitting down to eat with our guests, getting to know them and their stories. Some came from families with multi-generational histories of poverty, others fell into poverty when they lost their jobs or had a medical emergency. Often addiction or untreated mental health issues complicated their situations and made getting help more difficult. Providing food was often our first contact and the quickest way to start building a relationship with mistrustful clients.
Here in my community, the non-profit Surrey Food Bank helps feed about 14,000 people a month, 41% of whom are children and babies. That’s a lot of people who count on each of us looking out for one another to get by. I believe in the work that they do, so when we have a few extra dollars, I pick some items from their Most Needed Items list and drop them off in the food bank bin at my local grocery store.
Every shopping trip, there’s also an opportunity to donate right at the checkout. My local grocery stores carry these little sheets that can be scanned at the same time as the rest of my groceries. It’s so easy to donate to my local food bank while I’m paying for my weekly groceries.
Knowing the vital role that proper nutrition plays toward healthy development during pregnancy and infancy, the Surrey Food Bank also offers special programs for pregnant moms and infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with hampers full of age-appropriate foods to meet their extra nutritional needs.
Thanks to Maple Leaf Foods’ generosity, as part of my involvement in this campaign I was able to help feed a mom and her baby in my community for two months! Moms in the Tiny Bundles program receive extra food and fresh veggies, as well as fresh eggs and milk while pregnant or nursing. They also receive a welcome layette when baby is born and a “graduation” package when baby turns one.
I believe that we have a responsibility to our communities, as individuals and as businesses. That’s why I give back both professionally and personally. Large companies definitely have a responsibility to their communities too. Maple Leaf Foods takes that responsibility seriously, and this year they are giving 10,000 families across Canada $100 of free groceries, totalling nearly $100,000 in free groceries!
But they also want to support volunteers and not-for-profit organizations who are doing this work in their own local communities. That’s why they’ve launched a Canada-wide Feed it Forward campaign to select up to 10 Canadians and their organizations for a $10,000 donation.
Nominate Someone to Receive a $10,000 Donation
This is where we need your help! Nominate a great Canadian in your community who has gone above and beyond to use good food to better the lives of others. Maybe they’re operating a program to feed school children, delivering nutrition education for people who need support, or using food as a way to bring people together and teach valuable life skills.
Your nominee could receive a $10,000 donation towards their organization and free Maple Leaf groceries for a year. And just by nominating them you could have the opportunity to receive free Maple Leaf groceries for a year too! Get the full details and submit your nomination here. Nominations close on March 31, so get your submission in before then!
How do you give back to your community?
Who would you nominate for a Feed It Forward donation?
Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by Maple Leaf Foods but the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.