Taking part in the holiday spirit of giving – Does food charity alleviate hunger?

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Homeless Hub
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With the holiday season upon us, charitable food drives are in full swing. There’s been lots of talk in the media about how the need at food banks is greater right now due to COVID-19. It’s easy to throw a can of baked beans, a jar of peanut butter or a box of macaroni & cheese in the food bank bin. But does this really help to reduce hunger in our communities? 

To start, let’s clarify some terms. ‘Hunger’ is a feeling of discomfort from not eating enough food. ‘Food insecurity’ is inadequate or insecure access to food because of financial constraints. Poverty is the root cause of food insecurity. People experiencing food insecurity:

  • worry about having enough food
  • do not have suitable quality or variety of food, or
  • have reduced food intake and may not eat for a whole day or more due to lack of money (this extreme is how we commonly use the term ‘hunger’ when we mean severe food insecurity)

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