Members of Edmonton Chinese Lions Club, families and friends joined other caring Edmontonians at the Edmonton Food Bank on August 7, 2021 to take part in a work-bee sorting, packing and assembling hampers for community members dealing with food insecurity. Besides the contribution to a worthy effort, it was a great opportunity for all to become reacquainted with each other once again following the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The mission of the Food Bank is “To be stewards in the collection of surplus and donated food for the effective distribution, free of charge, to people in need in our community while seeking solutions to the causes of hunger.” Along with our motto of “We Serve”, partnering for this project was a natural move. The Food Bank opened its doors just 2 years after our club was chartered and one of our first fundraising initiatives was a Christmas Party with proceeds donated to the Food Bank. It was also an eye opening experience for many our team to see how much nutritious food is wasted (especially edible fresh produce going to trash in some grocery stores purely for cosmetic reasons) in our community when many of our neighbours have to do without.
Our team was given a tour of the “gleaning” (the non-economic harvesting of food) process used by the Food Bank to prevent unnecessary waste of food. Nearly 5 million kilograms are distributed each year to over 21,000 members of our community needing assistance. Most who have not experienced the prospect of not knowing where the next meal will come from may find it hard to believe the volumes of food handled by volunteers but we had the opportunity to see the enormity of the volume of food for distribution, including not only stable items but also fresh fruit and vegetables, some meat items and fresh eggs.
For our club, besides our physical contribution, the best part was team building and getting to know each other better. Young and old everyone played a part, especially two young ladies who likely carried a higher load relative to their age (see team photo above). Going forward, it is hoped that this type of service will become a fixture in our service portfolio.