Food security is one of the most pressing issues of our time. This weekend, the Calgary Food Bank is hoping to get support from 400,000 households across the city to help families put food on the table.
“This inflationary environment is really taking its toll on Calgarians,” said the Food Bank’s Betty Jo Kaiser. “We all know those grocery bills have gone up, up, up.
“We are seeing unprecedented demand at the Calgary Food Bank for food support.”
That’s why white bags have been dispersed across the city and left on hundreds of thousands of doorsteps. It couldn’t be done without the help of 8,000 dedicated volunteers, like the Giannakos family who lives in Mahogany. Over two nights, they handed out bags to 800 doorsteps — 400 with their The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints group, another 400 just by the family of six.
“There are definitely families in this neighbourhood and every neighbourhood in Calgary that need help from the food bank,” said dad Mitz Giannakos.
In fact, he said when he and his wife were newlyweds, they too depended on it.
“We had to go to the food bank and we benefited from the support they gave us, so I think as Calgarians, if you have a little bit to spare and if you have some time to fill up the bag, you have no idea the impact your help is giving.”
As a family, it’s helped teach his children, who range from five years old to 17 years old, the value of giving back, serving one’s community and being grateful.
“Gratefulness,” said 13-year-old daughter Danea, describing the feeling she gets by helping out. “Of what we have that we don’t need, to take food from it, and that we have enough money to get our own food.”
Mom Charity said she notices the grocery bills going up in order to feed her large family, but admitted there are many more people who are worse off than her.
“It goes up every single day I go shopping,” she said.
“I was at the grocery store the other day and there was a gentleman counting what the deposit was on the bottles of water he was buying, because he was that tight.”
The family has been doing this volunteer work together for nearly 20 years.
“That family has been out every single year since almost the very beginning, and it completely warms our heart,” said Kaiser.
How can you help?
Fill that bag with non-perishable food items and set it back on the front doorstep by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. Volunteers will return to pick it up, take it to a central location where the food will be dispersed throughout the city.