Community Comment, by Krista Carnegie
I want to share with you why I got involved helping to organize the Revelstoke Emergency Services Fight Back Against Hunger food drive this Sept. 19 & 20.
My family got into trouble when I was a teen. My mom was the main breadwinner in our family at that time. She was working two jobs to make ends meet, and had a slipped disc in her back. Dad was working part-time and going to university full-time and all of the sudden, the burden of feeding three kids on a tiny income was their reality.
While I don’t remember specific details, I remember how quickly things tightened up. No more eating out. No more special outings. At the time, I was in grade 7. I remember wanting the cool clothing and that new cassette tape, and money to go to the movies. It didn’t occur to me, the cost of these things.
As a mother now, the clothing and music and movies seem like such trivial things. When I think about getting in a financial crunch, my first thought goes to, “How would I feed my children?”
I consider what it would take for me to go in and make that application. To sit and admit that I needed help to feed my family.
I remember receiving that first box of food from the Calgary food bank. I don’t remember how my parents reacted, but I remember going through it and wondering where it came from. Things did get better, and we only needed the food bank for a short period of time. But looking back, I realize how hard it must have been for my parents to reach out and ask for help. Later, as a young adult off at university, I found myself clear across the country and alone on Christmas break. I was absolutely broke, and all of my friends had gone home for the holidays.
The people I worked with put together a Christmas food hamper for me. It made me feel less scared, less sad, less alone. I felt joy while cooking it because I realized that even if I was alone, I knew that people cared. I imagine that my parents felt this as well.
Today I am a single mom raising two kids by myself. I realize how little it would take to be in that place again. I consider what Mother Teresa said: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”
We nurture through food. When a mom has a baby, we cook. When we celebrate, we cook. When someone passes away, we cook. We have stepped away, in many ways from this cooking and feeding our community due to a lot of restraints — time, culture, societal structure — but this is something that we can all reach out and do without much effort.
This is not only a way to nurture those in our community that are in need and going through tough times. It is a way to nurture ourselves as human beings — connecting in a way that is at the core of our being … through food.
We can’t fix the problem ourselves, but working together, each of us doing a little bit, it adds up to feeding those hundred people even if individually we can only feed the one.
Please help us help those in need — we will be coming to your door between Wednesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 20 between 6–8 p.m. each night. If you will not be home, please leave your donation where our volunteers can see it, protected from the elements. If we do not make it to your home, please take your donation to Cooper’s or Southside Foods.
What are the most-needed donations?
Here’s the list:
Cans of tuna, salmon and other meats
Pasta sauce and tomatoes
Meal in a tin (i.e. stew)
Canned vegetables and fruit
Baby food and cereal
Toiletries such as toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo and soap
Children’s snack items, including juice boxes, granola bars, fruit cups
Krista Carnegie is a co-organizer of the Emergency Services Fight Back Against Hunger food drive. The drive is one of the Revelstoke Food Bank’s main drive of the year, bringing in enough food to stock their shelves for months.