On May 15th, students will take part in Food Bank Canada’s After the Bell program that will have them volunteering to pack 100,000 healthy food packs. The packs are then sent off to local food banks across Canada who will then be responsible for distributing them to those in need. The event takes place at the International Centre in Mississauga.
We got to chat with Food Banks Canada before After the Bell to find out more about the organizations and what they aim to achieve.
Describe After the Bell in a few sentences.
Food Banks Canada’s After the Bell program provides food for children in need during the summer months. Our goal is to provide child-friendly, healthy food packs to kids experiencing hunger, throughout Canada. With the help of over 1,000 volunteers, we will be packing 100,000 healthy food packs for kids at the International Centre, on May 15th. The packs are then sent to local food banks across the country who will distribute them. It’s an exciting event!
What problem does it aim to solve?
Food Banks Canada After the Bell program is dedicated to ending child hunger. With school nutrition programs ending for the summer months, After the Bell aims to fill that gap.
When did you start/join it?
Food Banks Canada started the After the Bell program five years ago. That year, we started with 700 packs. We have packed progressively higher amounts every year and this year we will be packing 100, 000 packs!
What made you want to get involved?
Summer hunger is an unsettling issue. Most children look forward to summer vacation as a time for fun and rest, but for those living with food insecurity, it can be a time of worry. After the Bell helps fill the shortfall during the summer months with healthy food packs for children experiencing hunger.
What was the situation like when you started?
Without breakfast and lunch school programs during the summer months, there were children having to skip meals and go without food. We want to change that situation.
How has it changed since?
Summer hunger is still an issue but we are helping more children every year.
What more needs to be done?
Food Banks Canada has several policy recommendations for government that could help the situation. We encourage everyone to go to our website www.foodbankscanada.ca to read our HungerCount 2018 report where they can learn more about the issue of hunger. It’s shocking that more than 35% of those relying on food banks nationally are children, when they only represent 20% of the population.
How can our readers help?
Canadians can donate funds, food and time to their local food bank. There is a food bank finder on our website to help. Also, corporations can sign up to help us on packing day next year. It’s a fun day of employee engagement for a great cause. Volunteers tend to come back year after year because it’s so fulfilling. You can find details about how to sign up your company or organization on our website.
Do you have any events coming up?
Our packing day takes place on May 15th. After the Bell works with corporate volunteer teams to assemble the healthy food packs. If your team would like to participate, please contact Karen@foodbankscanada.ca.
Where can we follow you? You can follow us at Food Banks Canada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and of course on our website at www.foodbankscanada.ca.