By David F. Rooney
Here’s a statistic to think about, perhaps even get alarmed about: 40% of the Community Connections Food Bank’s recipients are children and their numbers are rising.
In 2010 more than 40 kids relied on the Food Bank and that number has now jumped to 69 children.
“Last month 69 children accessed the Food Bank for help every week— 69!” exclaimed Food Bank Manager Patti Larson.
“Their need is greater than our supply! Over 40% of food bank recipients (between 175 and 233 people) are children, and the impact of hunger and lack of nutrition in children is severe. Hungry children do not grow as quickly as healthy children, and may develop more slowly. Constant hunger weakens the immune system and makes children more vulnerable to diseases and infections.
“Healthy children learn better, are stronger, more productive, and have a better chance of breaking cycles of poverty and realizing their full potential.”
But they can’t do that without help and the Food Bank’s resources are stretched as far as they can go.
Even though donations were down last year by almost 30 per cent the Food Bank is spending about $10,000 a year to maintain its weekly Kids Snack Program and children of all ages from toddlers to teenagers benefit from this program.
“This is only for children registered with the Food Bank,” Larson said. “We provide families with a bag of nutritious snacks to last for at least five school days, including 100% fruit juice, peanut free healthy granola bars, natural fruit leather bars, unsweetened fruit cups, yogurt tubes and fresh fruit. We also endeavour to provide vitamins throughout the year to all of the children during the peak cold and flu seasons.”
But as anyone who has raised children knows, kids eat a lot. Those snacks may be nutritious but they are just snacks. And Food Bank hampers don’t last long — just three or four days.
To meet this challenge Community Connections is inaugurating a special, month-long campaign to raise the money it needs to help feed the growing number of children who are going hungry in our community.
You can make the difference for a local child. For a monthly commitment of just $25 you can help eliminate child hunger in Revelstoke.
All monies raised through the Feed the Future — Help Our Hungry Children campaign will be used to support the Kids’ Snack and Vitamin Program.
The Revelstoke Current is supporting this campaign. Over the course of this month we will bring you stories, photos and videos about the families who rely on the Food Bank and their hopes — and fears — for their children. We’ll also post a series of stories by Laura Stovel about what it’s like to rely on a Food Bank hamper. We’ve all heard about hampers but do we really know what’s in them or how long they’ll last?
“There should be no hungry children in Revelstoke,” Larson says.
We agree and we hope you will, too.