Like so many other occasions, Thanksgiving won’t be the same this year due to COVID-19. Rates of COVID-19 are rising again, and many people in Canada will mark the holiday with fewer people around the table.
What is not on the table will also be a source of anxiety and trepidation as growing numbers of individuals and families struggle with food insecurity.
“We’re seeing troubling reports that more and more people in Canada are food insecure,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Thanksgiving is an opportunity to help alleviate this stress in a small but significant way. It is more important than ever that those of us who are able to support our local food banks give more to help make things easier on individuals and on families.”
According to the non-profit Community Food Centres Canada, food insecurity is negatively impacting the mental and physical health of millions of Canadians. A report by Statistics Canada this past May found that one in seven survey respondents experienced moderate to severe food insecurity. This is significantly higher than the previous year, when over 4.5 million people were found to have limited access to adequate nutrition. Research shows that children, Indigenous people, people of colour, single parents, newcomers and people in Northern communities are all disproportionately impacted.
“We are getting through this pandemic by working together, and that means we need to support each other in these tough times,” said Yussuff. “Many non-profit agencies and charities are seeing donations dwindle and a decrease in volunteers due to COVID-19. This is happening at the same time that demand for help is going up. Let’s do our part to make sure no one in our communities ever has to go hungry.”
Various labour councils across Canada will also be donating to local food banks.
Canada’s unions have launched an ambitious recovery plan that focuses on job creation, healthcare and social programs that aim to reduce inequality and help lift people out of poverty. Learn about the campaign here.