How do you prepare to have emergency food on hand when you do not even have enough food in the house to feed yourself or your family? This week one of our local food banks, the Mustard Seed, is holding a Pie-Off Challenge in honour of the Great Canadian Food Fight, a cross-Canada food drive competition to see who can collect the most food. The Pie-Off is to challenge local businesses to collect cans, or pie trying. The point is to have fun while encouraging business to get creative in helping the Mustard Seed reach their goal of collecting $100,000 and $100,000 lbs of food to stock their shelves for winter.
So the question came up, how can we help lower income families be prepared?
For the families themselves, we suggest they store away one or two items each time they receive food from the food banks. Keep the food just as you would any other preparedness food – in a dry place, safe from critters, and easily accessible in the event of an emergency. Make note of the expiry dates. Once enough food has been collected, replace soon-to-be expired with new food and keep the habit going.
If you have the means to give your local food bank, then how can you help? There are many ways, but the easiest way is when the call to give food comes, rather than emptying your cupboards as a means to “get rid of the old stuff”, choose instead to give the freshest food items possible. Local grocery stores often have a place where you can drop off items you have just purchased. Make it a goal and a habit to buy a few items for others as you purchase items for your own family. The good news is, the types of food these food banks suggest giving, are very much the kind that are good for emergency food storage.
While there is much more we could do, this is one step we can all take.
As for the Pie-Off Challenge, stay tuned… We challenge you to get involved.