TORONTO, May 7, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, Food Banks Canada and its network across the country launch the first annual Hunger Awareness Week, from May 7-11, 2012. Formerly Hunger Awareness Day, Hunger Awareness Week is a week-long initiative that challenges Canadians to learn more about the issue of hunger in our country and to take action to make a difference for those in need. Across the country, Canadians are being asked to "Give It Up" for hunger awareness. Join Toronto Argonauts Vice-Chair Michael "Pinball" Clemons and ET Canada's Senior Entertainment Reporter and host of Food Network Canada's Family Cook Off, Kim D'Eon, at the Second Annual "Lunch-In". The event will also feature lunches prepared by Top Chef Canada competitor Ryan Gallagher.
Canadians can help in three simple ways - Give It Up, Give a Shout, and Give It Out:
...Give It Up: Give up your meals for a day, lunch for a week, or a staple food item. Walk in the shoes of hunger to begin to understand what it means to go without food, experiencing the effects of hunger first hand.
...Give a Shout: Share your experience by going online to show your support via Facebook, Twitter or blogging.
...Give It Out: Donate food, funds or your time to a local food bank.
On Wednesday May 9th, more than 140 federal Parliamentarians and staff will fast as an act of solidarity with Canadians in need. On May 10th, they will come together to discuss the issue of hunger at a breakfast in the Parliamentary restaurant. For a complete list of Parliamentarians and staff participating, please visit: http://hungerawarenessweek.ca/parliamentarians. Special thanks to Breakfast Sponsor, Turkey Farmers of Canada.
"Nearly 900,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 38 per cent are children.* Together we can help reduce hunger in our country," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. "It's important for Canadians to understand that hunger is easily hidden and often overlooked, but inevitably lives in all of our communities."
The 2012 Lunch-In takes place on May 10th at St. Andrews Playground in Toronto. Torontonians can enjoy Chef Ryan Gallagher's one-of-a-kind packed lunches, for a small donation, together as a gesture of frugality and solidarity to reduce hunger. Canadians across the country are also encouraged to hold Lunch-Ins in their own communities with friends, family and co-workers during the week of May 7-11.
Hunger Awareness Week would not be possible without the support of some of Canada's leading corporate citizens. Food Banks Canada would like to thank this year's Corporate Hunger Heroes who are vital to raising awareness for the cause and are executing a number of events across the country, including Bernardin Ltd., Campbell Company of Canada, Canadian Pacific (CP), General Mills Canada Corporation, The Great-West Life Assurance Company, Investors Group Financial Services Inc., Kellogg Canada Inc., Kraft Canada Inc., Loblaw Companies Ltd., McCain Foods (Canada), Purolator Inc., Sodexo Foundation Inc., Sony of Canada Ltd. and Shaw Media.
Food Banks Canada would also like to thank its Community Hunger Heroes whose continued support, countless volunteer hours and inspirational stories help raise awareness and provide much needed assistance across Canada. Together, we can have an impact on the solvable issue of hunger in Canada and take action to help reduce those affected in our own backyards.
For more information on Hunger Awareness Week visit www.hungerawarenessweek.ca. Please show your support by following us on Twitter at @foodbankscanada, and joining our Food Banks Canada Facebook page.
About Hunger Awareness Week
Hunger Awareness Week was created to provide food banks with an opportunity to educate Canadians about the hunger need in our country, and encourage all Canadians to help those in need. Close to 900,000 individuals turn to food banks for support each month, and nearly two million Canadians are food insecure, struggling with not knowing where their next meal may come from. Today, more than 900 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies distribute groceries or provide meals to Canadians in need. Since 2006, Food Banks Canada has dedicated one day each year to raising awareness around the issue of hunger in Canada. This year marks the first full week set aside for hunger education.
Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 per cent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit www.foodbankscanada.ca for more information.