This month’s awareness campaign is dear to me. I grew up with a younger brother and a single mom to raise us both. She is the strongest and most amazing woman you’ll ever meet, but her salary simply didn’t bring enough for the luxuries most would find normal. Things like cable TV, Oreo cookies, figure skates and my own bedroom just weren’t an option. School outings and extra-curricular activities where always an added stress to her as she wanted so much to give us everything under the sun, but financially, it simply could not be done.
However, because of the generosity of our community, our schools and the local food banks, I was able to participate in several school activities and to my surprise, was able to go on our Grade 6 winter trip. I even found a wrapped present in one of the food boxes with my name on it one year; a pair of brand new white figure skates. They were too big for years, but I was so happy, I wore them anyway.
Every Holiday season we’d drive to the school to pick up the food baskets the food bank had put together for the families who had less. I remember never wanting to go with my mom as I thought it was terribly embarrassing. I didn’t want anyone else to see me there. She didn’t let me hide behind life’s circumstances. She, instead, taught me to be proud no matter what, to be thankful, grateful and humble. And how humbling that walk was from the car, through the doors of the school, to the cafeteria where all the boxes awaited!
What’s the point of the story? As I grew more mature, I realized that I had been so blessed to have what I did have and to be able to get a few extras every now and again. It became apparent that so many other families had even less than we did. Some children go to school on an empty stomach on a regular basis. I never had to suffer though that and can’t even begin to imagine the toll it would take on a child and his mother/father. The Holiday season always reminds me of my blessings. The love, the gatherings, the food on the table... It’s a perfect time to go through your pantry and bring out some of your non-perishable food items. There are hundreds of places who will take them and make sure they get into good hands.
This December, at hipS-sister, we will be contributing a portion of ALL online sales to “Feeding America”. Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. It is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. They provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people they serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org for more information and more ways to get involved.
Helping out during the Holiday season is a GREAT start, but let’s make it that, a start. Let’s take some time throughout the year, to bring a few items to our local food banks, just because we can!