After just returning from the Philippines, and having traveled to several countries less fortunate than Canada over the past few years, I can’t stop thinking about the effect of food on the health of a community. In Liberia, for instance, citizens had access to potatoes, fish, coconuts and chicken but scarcely few fruits and vegetables. Last week in the Philippines I witnessed intense poverty, but the prevalence of fruit trees, rice fields (photo below) and meats made the communities far less taxed and happier. Even in our thriving country of Canada, we have some severe food shortages. From now on, we should think about how to ‘feed it forward’.Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, a University of Toronto professor and a principal author of a series of reports on Household Food Insecurity in Canada was quoted in the National Post last week as saying “By our best estimate, there are more than 4 million Canadians currently living in situations where they are struggling to afford the food that they need. It is a very serious problem, and if we don’t pay attention to it, it just festers.”

Philippine Rice FieldsWhen I returned home from the airport today I reached into the freezer and pulled out homemade meals. My family is so lucky that we can buy in bulk, we have electricity with which to cook or freeze, and the pantry is well stocked. Most families, here and abroad, don’t have access to the variety, storage or cooking abilities we do. They live day to day and buy pepper or laundry soap in tiny bags because they can’t afford enough for a week. As I travel I am so proud to be Canadian, and love supporting countries who need the tourism dollars. That said, I also cringe seeing food struggles in my own Country. 1 in 6 Canadian children are hungry. Add adults and the elderly and the numbers are scary.

Supporting the Food Bank

There are so many food banks out there, and I want to start at the heart of my own city. After all, strong communities produce kids who thrive. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank provides assistance to over 26,500 people weekly, 20% of our members are children, 19% are seniors. (Image credit below: Greater Vancouver Food Bank). My kids and I did a big shop, and had the thrill of donating to this amazing organization. It’s crucial to get the kids involved early in charity.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

So why not find a food bank in your own city to help combat food insecurity? Support food banks to feed it forward.