As we entered 2023, I looked back at the media reports for 2022 on food insecurity, rising cost of food and the use of food banks. I found myself saddened to think that a large and increasing number of families could not survive without food banks. Having just celebrated Advent and Christmas when we hear again the hope we have in God’s presence it is good to know that food banks are able to support families.
Food banks are helping the vulnerable in communities so they may live with dignity and self respect. Many of these organizations have been registered with Canada Revenue Agency for over 35 years. Established originally as a short term solution to a growing problem, they offer food, clothing and emergency assistance. In 2022, many low income workers were forced to seek help through their local food banks. Increase in use of these services varied across Canada but in some areas was substantial. Many areas also found it difficult to raise donations because everyone was feeling the increased cost of food.
My own church, in conjunction with three other churches, provides a weekly dinner in one of the buildings. The Christmas dinner was attended by 90 people including a family with 6 children. It is hard to see young children having to attend such a gathering to have supper.
I don’t have a solution to this growing problem but know that God is enabling us to provide help where we can. I think of the scripture of the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Matthew 14: vs 13 – 21) when Jesus said to the disciples, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”