When we first launched the London Food Bank back in 1986, there was a clear sense we were part of a movement. In communities across the country, unique men and women were stepping forward who sought to inspire efforts to alleviate food insecurity. Something about food banking was bringing out the best in us as citizens and we ourselves were changing because of the challenges in front of us.
“Something about food banking was bringing out the best in us as citizens and we ourselves were changing because of the challenges in front of us.”
That was 30 years ago, but the contact Jane and I had with those individuals inspired me and remain with me as some of my fondest memories. When the Ontario Association of Food Banks first got under way, we were also meeting in those early days in Kingston with food bank leaders from Quebec.
Those meetings were driven by a sense of shared compassion and a collective sense that we weren’t fully sure what we were up against, nor what the future would look like. Despite the many obstacles, those personalities displayed a sense of obligation to hungry families and individuals that drove our discussions.
Our main concern was always that something had to be done to rectify a situation where people were going hungry in a country that had more capacity to grow and market food than most other nations.
Somehow, for all our progress and affluence, Canada was leaving thousands of families behind in its rush for prosperity. As food bank leaders we all felt the urgent need to remind our fellow citizens of this jarring disconnect.
Three decades later most of those remarkable pioneers have moved on to other initiatives. But that initial spirit that saw to the establishing of the OAFB was housed and protected by women and men who desired to ensure that a strong voice for food security and social justice would always find a home in our collective organization of provincial food banks.
That memory of their commitment to a better and more equitable world continues to drive my own efforts today. Though many have moved on, that collective voice and the collaborative efforts they displayed during those early challenging years continue to represent the essence and soul of the food bank movement, thanks to their ability to organize and put the pressing needs of others before their own.
Submitted by the London Food Bank Link opens a new window as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.