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Giving Back to Food Banks

December 13, 2012 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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Stone soup is an old folk story that has a number of cultural adaptations. Essentially it goes like this:

Travelers come to a town, hungry and looking for food. No one will share food with them because food is scarce, so the travelers build a fire, put a pot of water over it, and place a stone in the bottom of the pot. When asked what they are doing, they say they are making “stone soup,” but that it isn’t finished yet because it needs something to improve the flavour. A villager shares an onion, another shares a carrot and another shares some spices. This continues until the soup is complete and they all enjoy it together. 

The stone soup story is told to emphasize the importance of community and what can be accomplished when we work together. As we head into the holidays, this principle is at work everywhere: food banks, toy drives, Salvation Army Christmas kettles, etc.

Many of us take for granted that we have enough food in our fridge and cupboards, but in truth, lots of British Columbians don’t share that reality. Food banks are used by many people, including working families, seniors, individuals with disabilities or illnesses, single parents and people who have lost their job. Approximately one in three people helped by food banks are children.

For those of us who do have plenty, the holidays are an easy time to remember to give back to the community. As in the stone soup story, even a small contribution can contribute to a much greater good.

Some of the most needed food items requested by food banks are: canned meat/fish, natural peanut butter, whole wheat pasta, rice, pasta sauce, canned fruit and vegetables, 100% juice, low sugar cereals and baby food and formula. Talk to your local food bank about what they need most right now. Depending on where you’re donating the food items, some food banks will also take milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other perishable foods.

Unfortunately, hunger doesn’t end in January. The need for help is year round. Fuel yourself with the generosity and spirit of giving during the holidays and let it last all year through.

 

 

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