Hunger Games in Bolton?

  • Caledon Enterprise

Caledon Enterprise
By Monty Laskin, Caledon Community Services

Monty Laskin - CEO CCSThere is no level-headed Canadian who would deny that hunger is a real problem in this country. There are nearly 900,000 Canadians seeking help from food banks each month. The problem isn’t in another country. And the problem isn’t emerging in our country. It is here, that is abundantly. And it is very immediate. Is there any level-headed Caledon resident who would deny that hunger is a real problem in this community? That’s a pretty inflammatory way of posing such a question and I should tread more carefully.

You see, these days CCS is on a mission to move forward on food poverty and health promotion in Caledon. I don’t want to ruffle feathers when the mission is to get breakfast in every Caledon child’s tummy each morning. And ensure they eat carrots and broccoli a few times weekly. And drink milk, eat eggs, poultry and good grains. Maybe it is better to present the facts so that people can decide once they’re in possession of Caledon’s harsh reality.

Does serving 200 families in Caledon with regular food hampers and the occasional grocery card every month mean that hunger is an immediate problem in Caledon?

Is hunger a problem in Caledon?

If you’re one of the 200 families, it sure is. And if you’re not in that cohort, you need to decide if it’s an immediate problem that a few children in your son or daughter’s class are not eating breakfast regularly. And that their dinners leave a lot to be desired too. Many people in this community have already decided that it’s nothing short of an outrage.

So they are working and volunteering to provide food support in the short term. They’ve also concluded that it’s equally important to develop solutions that will eliminate hunger in the long term. This is the major focus of the Exchange, a new community hub that will soon open its doors to the entire community. To be clear, the Exchange is not about poverty. Not at all. It’s about community. Completely and entirely.

The Exchange will offer the community opportunities like never before. It will engage Caledon with innovations and activities for all. And in so doing, it is believed that Caledon will be more successful in both short and long term challenges related to hunger. When you are around hunger every day, as many of us are in work or other aspects of our lives, it is immediately apparent that there are myriad matters to address if we hope to feed people and ensure that they also feed themselves. If it was easy, we would have solved this long ago. It’s not easy. It’s an intransigent challenge in Canada. However, it doesn’t have to be an intransigent challenge in Caledon.

The Exchange will provide opportunities to address myriad matters connected to hunger. And it will do it all through the primary vehicle of “community”.

The Exchange will provide ways for residents of the community to play an active, productive role in helping themselves and others. There will be top shelf nutrition classes provided by experts in the field; teaching on everything from diabetes to tomato growing; training for youth; activation for seniors; activities for children; and healthy delicious food for everyone. All of these things are crucial to create just the right blend of exchanging food and time and information and money and wisdom and learning. There will be something for everyone and a whole lot of exchanging going on for the benefit of individuals, families and groups.

Food will connect to employment support; that will connect to newcomer resettlement; and that will connect to small business development. Cooking classes will provide learning, friendships, connections and circles of support. And on and on will the many exchanges go. We’re hoping to be open in time for the holiday season. Until then, if you want to get involved, reach us the moment you put down the newspaper. We will listen to your ideas and get you involved in some way. You’ll decide how. Just reach us by contacting Kim D’Eri, Program Manager, at 905-584-2300 or kderi@ccs4u.org.

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