Groups bring attention to the plight of food bank users - Metro US

Groups bring attention to the plight of food bank users

About 50 people gathered under grey skies outside of Province House in Halifax yesterday to draw attention to Hunger Awareness Day.

They joined “hunger lineups” in Bridgewater, Amherst, Sydney and across Canada to push the anti-poverty agenda.

Dianne Swinemar, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia, said the demonstration was not about getting cans on shelves so much as getting the issues into people’s minds. “Today’s message is to recognize that people anywhere from infancy to senior citizens are using food banks and when we hear their stories they are compelling, they are very sad, they are very devastating,” she said.

“While we’re doing all we can to keep food moving out into the community, the reality is there needs to be a change in the social-assistance program, a change in the way we all respond to hunger and poverty issues.”

She hoped the hunger lineups would inspire more people to “be a voice for that change.”

Patti Pattenden lined up on Hollis Street just as the rain started after noon. She began volunteering with Feed Nova Scotia five years ago. “We’re trying to raise awareness for hunger in our community and the severity of it, and that it’s happening locally,” the Dalhousie University health student said.

She stood with Barry McNeil, who works in facility management at Saint Mary’s University. He started donating money to Feed Nova Scotia a couple of years ago.

“I just wanted to be involved,” he said. “To be honest, a part of it was my father, who grew up without a lot of food or money in the house. I guess his story kind of stayed with me.”

Feed Nova Scotia organized the events in this province and said 25 people gathered in Amherst and 50 in Sydney, while Bridgewater drew 600 people, bolstered by about 500 students and staff from Bridgewater Elementary School.

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