TRURO – It’s a few days before Thanksgiving.
We are in our local grocery store. Our biggest challenge is choosing from the huge variety and abundance that is there, today and every day. I have money to pay for it, a car to drive, and a safe, warm home with a well-stocked kitchen, and freedom to gather and share our abundance.
I’ve put the groceries away and sit down to write this article about World Food Day. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has ‘zero hunger’ at the heart of its mandate.
Here in Truro, we are using World Food Day on Oct. 16 to draw our attention to the more than 820 million people in this world who do not have access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.
Just as the Canadian Foodgrains Bank works with partners globally in our vision of a world without hunger, four churches in Truro are working with us to bring you a ‘Room at the Table Ration Meal’ event, with our guest speaker, Rahaf Abdo, a young Syrian woman who is coordinating the distribution of emergency food aid to fellow citizens within her own country.
Members of First United, St. James Presbyterian, John Calvin Christian Reformed, and Immanuel Baptist churches are preparing a variety of rice and bean dishes to share with our community on Oct. 16, 6 p.m., at Immanuel Baptist Church, 295 Young St., Truro. This is our way to remember those who are hungry by eating a simple ration meal together. A typical ration of one adult in a refuge camphor one day, as outlined by the World Health Organization, includes 450 grams of cereal, 50 grams of pulses, 50 grams of oil, and five grams of iodized salt.
Abdo, 26, knows of these rations too well. She is the project coordinator for food distribution within Syria, where about 32,000 people – some 6,000 families – in Hama, rural Homs region, and Qalamoun receive regular monthly food baskets through the Foodgrains Bank and local partners. Each basket includes local staples such as bulgur wheat, rice, vegetable and olive oil, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, tomato paste, sugar, salt, margarine, and canned meat.
“Without the food basket, people would be starving. You can’t imagine their look on their faces if you tell them, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t give you anything this month,” she says, adding that the conflict has driven up prices for everything. The baskets help them stay in their own country. Even with supplemental food assistance, malnutrition is growing, and food consumption is barely acceptable.
This work is dangerous as armed conflict is constantly on the move and some 6.5 million people are internally displaced. But Abdo is brave enough to travel here to Canada to tell us her story. Her presentation will be at 7 p.m.
Here in Truro, at our meal together, we will save room at each table. We will learn about families around the world who have experienced hunger but are now receiving support from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and our partners. We are offering your meal for free but is costs us about $15 per person per month to provide food aid. Please consider making a donation to help end world hunger. Your donation will be matched 4-to-1 by our Canadian government.
Your donation will be helping families, who, unlike us, do not have the abundance that we are privileged to share this Thanksgiving. Let us give bread to those who are hungry, and a hunger for justice to those who have bread.
IF YOU GO:
Who: Canadian Foodgrains Bank
What: Room at the Table Ration Meal, with guest speaker Rahaf Abdo, of Syria
When: Oct. 16, 6 p.m. meal, 7 p.m. speaker
Where: Immanuel Baptist Church, 295 Young St., Truro
Why: to celebrate World Food Day
Additional information: by donation