Truro & District Lions Club, By Joyce Gero
Hunger not just a world problem; more than 21,000 Nova Scotians in need
© Joyce Gero photo
Lion Sadie Dauphney, community betterment chair with the Truro & District Lions Club, holds the cash register receipt for groceries purchased for six families through the local Christmas Index program. In the background is Lion Barb Urquhart, one of the club members who assisted with the project.
According to the United Nations World Food Program, hunger is the number one health risk in the world, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The number of malnourished people in the world is equal to the collective population of Canada, the United States, and the European Union — nearly a seventh of the world population, and every five seconds, someone dies from a hunger-related disease.
This global crisis isn’t caused by a lack of resources. There’s enough food today for everyone to have the nourishment needed for a healthy and productive life. The problem is access to that food.
Illness and death from hunger aren’t limited to developing countries. In Canada, more than 800,000 people turn to food banks each month. Feed Nova Scotia reports indicate food banks assisted 21,760 Nova Scotians in Mar. 2013. Meal programs and soup kitchens served 154,330 meals and 18,724 snacks during the same month. With current unemployment rates of more than 16 per cent in some parts of the province, those numbers have probably not decreased in the last year.
Lions Clubs International launched a global service action campaign to focus on hunger and malnutrition during December 2013 and January 2014. Lions around the world were invited to participate in Relieving the Hunger and to make a difference in their communities by helping people who don’t have enough to eat.
In Nova Scotia, many Lions clubs have already been doing just that, with ongoing programs involving meals on wheels, regularly scheduled complimentary or low-cost breakfasts or suppers for seniors or people with low incomes, and participation in food bank or school breakfast programs.
Truro & District Lions, recognizing the importance of nourishment to a child’s ability to concentrate and focus on schoolwork, supported breakfast programs in four schools in Colchester County in 2013. In December, the club assisted the Christmas Index program by purchasing, packing and delivering groceries for six families in need.
In recent years, the Truro & District Lions Club has donated regularly to the Colchester Food Bank with total annual donations of up to $20,000. Last year, Lions contributed use of their hall to the food bank for a pancake breakfast fundraiser.
The club is delighted to announce that this year the annual Lions pancake breakfasts, held Saturday mornings throughout March, will be co-hosted by food bank staff and volunteers with all profits to be donated directly to the food bank.
Are Lions doing enough to relieve hunger in Nova Scotia? That question may be answered by guest speaker Dianne Swinemar, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia, at the District N-2 winter cabinet meeting in Lower Sackville on Feb. 8, when Lions from across the province will be able to learn more about the challenges Feed Nova Scotia faces.
To learn more about Lions’ support in the community, or becoming involved in the Lions organization, visit http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/trurons/ or join the Truro & District Lions Club on Facebook.
Joyce Gero, or Lion Joyce, is 2013-14 public relations chair with the Truro and District Lions Club. She is a resident of Lower Truro.