Hunger Action Month aims to raise awareness, donations at a time when food insecurity is high
MONCTON, N.B. -- Tuesday marked the start of Hunger Action Month -- a campaign dedicated to raising awareness and donations for food banks across Canada.
The 2019 hunger count in New Brunswick saw 20,000 people using food banks each month.
The Food Depot Alimentaire in Moncton supports all 60 food banks across the province. The executive director, Chantal Senecal, says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how the organization does its job.
September would normally be filled with fundraisers; however, the non-profit had to cancel all of their events due to pandemic restrictions.
“We do know that our revenues are going to be down on this month,” says Senecal.
“Going into the fall season, demand usually goes up, but we’re expecting that even more this fall with the pandemic happening and people needing more support.”
This year’s Hunger Action Month campaign will place a larger emphasis on a social media presence, with a focus on four pillars: educate, advocate, volunteer, and donate.
“Educating the public of the importance of food banks and what we're trying to do in our communities, advocating for policy change, advocating for people to be able to receive more income, and encouraging volunteerism, which is super important in the work that we do. We couldn’t do the work that we do without our volunteers,” says Senecal.
Don Lutes has been volunteering his time at the Peter McKee Community Food Centre in Moncton for the last four years. He’s optimistic the community support will continue.
“People understand that large fundraisers can't happen anymore, so they’re stepping up to the plate and making sure they're still donating,” says Lutes.
“You are helping a lot of people. We serve on an average 80 to 100 clients a day.”
A number Senecal expects to increase over the coming weeks, as government subsidies shift again.
“We know there are more people who are food insecure that are just not quite accessing food banks, that it really wouldn’t take much for them to need those services. It could be just a little bit less on their pay cheques and they’d have to go to a food bank,” she says.