Executive Director's Message
Food insecurity is a significant issue affecting individuals, families, and communities locally in Thunder Bay and worldwide. It refers to the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Read the message from our executive director and leave your thoughts on how we can create a hunger-free community.
When will the sun rise again? I have never been more disheartened in my 47 years as a Northerner in Thunder Bay and region. I thought it was bad when the forest industry went through a down-sizing crisis 40 years ago. Businesses at that time rebuilt and reimagined a new future. The City was transformed yet not defeated. Fast forward to the pandemic and now the time of supposed economic recovery, with a bright “electric” horizon. Then why am I less than optimistic? I am involved in a charitable world whose wounds are chronic; where remedies and treatments are not supported by the people in whose trust I lay at election time. I have appealed to all of you many times for food and funds in order that food security agencies with countless volunteers, can continue to feed the hungry. I have been accused of crying wolf too many times. I am unwilling to apologize. The day has never been this dark, and the prospects aren’t improving. Too many people are struggling and there is too much competition amongst us.
I was adding up the deep-rooted symptoms and barriers, hindering a full recovery. Most of us have seen our own food budgets double. Many are cringing at what might happen when they renegotiate their mortgages. Homelessness, addictions, racism, violence, and corruption are more than just words that fill the airways and conversations in every forum. To those of us that speak and live this lexicon every day; we grow weary. Health care workers, police, teachers, social workers, union leaders, and every caring individual that gives selflessly; they deserve your unconditional respect. We need only turn to the news and watch the pre-election drama, south of us, to immediately begin to appreciate what we have in Canada. With one voice we need to be heard. Democracy should be the sole realm of visionaries.
I should have faith in the system. I am proud of our elected officials at all levels of government, at least at the local level. Then why is it that I am unable to make payroll for my team that is committed to serving others. Why can we not afford to buy food in sufficient volumes to fill enough hampers to fill every empty tummy. Food drives have become our lifeblood, yet it is nearly impossible to keep pace with demand. The system is broken. I wish every politician could share a window to the poverty that spreads like an infection in our society. We are privy to a world where people exist in broken homes, less spacious and comfortable, surviving not living. I am devastated that we can not help more. The need lives everywhere. We also serve those that are employed, often with multiple jobs, sharing accommodation, struggling through their own financial or domestic hell. I have learned not to judge. Poverty flows through our veins, in the City and across the Country, not just in encampments.
I have often wondered if the current food banking business, in financial crisis, affecting many food hubs, including ours, were to close our doors; would the City step up? And yes, we are a business. Would the provincial and Federal governments enact supporting legislation to guarantee that every Canadian has a home, has food, and the opportunity to have a happy and healthy life. Maybe the solution is to turn over the reins to government. The reality is that we need to solve the immediate food security crisis, then begin to build capacity through empowerment, starting with education, and focused on economic stability. The network I represent believes in a hand up. We are committed to a full partnership with First Nations, unions, industry, educators, and especially healers. It is time we wake up to a brand-new day. I was told by my oversight professionals and the directors that keep us on track, that it is the darkest before the dawn. I for one, …. am ready for the sun to rise.