Are you hungry?
Not “man, I could go for an Oh! Henry” hungry, or “that chow mein was good but I should have ordered some chicken balls” hungry, but “another three cents and I can get a loaf of bread this week” hungry. If you’re reading this, chances are you don’t fall into the latter category, but many people in Toronto do. In fact, according to the publication Who’s Hungry [PDF], a staggering 1 in 5 people (just under 900,000) in the GTA had to rely on food banks in 2005/2006, and the use of food banks has increased 79% since 1995. That’s the bad news. The good news is you can help.
The Daily Bread Food Bank Spring Food Drive winds down this week. They need enough food (about a million pounds) to feed people until the Fall Food Drive. Raid your pantry and drop off some food at your local firehall, Loblaws or Real Canadian Superstore by Friday. What’s the best food to give? It has been said that the nutrient and caloric content of the hampers distributed is not up to snuff, in part due to the food typically donated, which is heavy on the grains and cereals. Something that hungry people recognize they need is meat or meat alternatives, which means protein. Without protein, people lack energy and stamina to manage day to day tasks, especially when under the stress of perhaps holding down multiple jobs and trying to feed hungry kids. Some protein-rich foods which you might have right now in your cupboard are: canned wild salmon (bonus—omega 3!), canned or dried beans, canned or dried lentils, nut butter and quinoa. If your pantry is bare, you can always skip the lattes this week and hit the grocery store, or donate money online.
The amazing thing about giving is you are not just helping others, but also helping yourself. When people say to give is to receive, it is not just a load of hooey. Studies have shown that acts of kindness can reduce stress in the body, and strengthen the immune system, thanks to a release of endorphins. So give yourself a “helper’s high” this week by giving someone the gift of nutrition.
Photo by Dr Joolz from Flickr.