Think you don't know anyone who uses a food bank? The face of hunger will surprise you



    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - Hunger is a deep-rooted and pressing problem in
Canada. June 5, 2007 marks the 2nd annual National Hunger Awareness Day in
Canada - an initiative launched by the Canadian Association of Food Banks
(CAFB) to tell the story of food banks and the many men, women and children
they serve.
    The CAFB is urging Canadians - an overwhelming majority of whom believe
that hunger is a serious problem in Canada - to take action and become a
Hunger Hero by signing an online petition created to help solve the problem of
hunger in Canada. For every Canadian who signs the petition, available online
at www.hungerawarenessday.ca, a copy is sent to Prime Minister Harper and key
government representatives, outlining specific steps that the government can
take to ensure that no one in Canada goes hungry.
    "The face of hunger will truly surprise you. Most people don't realize
that many of the over 753,000 Canadians using food banks every month - up
99.3 per cent since 1989 - live and work in the same community and attend the
same schools that they or their children do," says Wayne Hellquist, Chair of
the CAFB Board. "Students, seniors, people with disabilities, and adults with
full-time jobs who don't make enough to support their families find themselves
in a food bank line. Perhaps most alarming, is the fact that 41 per cent of
food bank users are children."(*)

    Canadians must take action!
    ---------------------------
    Today, 649 food banks and 2,761 affiliated agencies distribute food or
provide meals for hungry people. But we can all work together to end hunger in
Canada. With public awareness and support for the need to end hunger in
Canada, the issue will become a priority for Canadian decision-makers.
    "Food banks were originally established as a temporary 'emergency'
measure to help Canadians, but have since become a significant part of the
Canadian social safety net," says Mr. Hellquist. "Despite the distressing
number of hungry people in Canada, the problem can be solved. National Hunger
Awareness Day provides an important opportunity for Canadians to hear about
the reality of hunger in Canada, and what they can do to help."

    Wall of Hunger
    --------------
    In addition to the launch of the national online petition, food banks
across the country will unveil Walls of Hunger - erected to illustrate who is
hungry in specific communities - in an effort to raise awareness for the
cause.

    Our Partner Hunger Heroes
    -------------------------
    National Hunger Awareness Day would not be possible without the support
of our Corporate Hunger Heroes, representing some of the leading food,
financial, insurance and service organizations in Canada. Our Corporate Hunger
Heroes play a vital role in furthering support for the cause through internal
employee awareness initiatives and food bank outreach programs.
    Our Corporate Hunger Heroes include: Sodexho, Campbell Company of Canada,
Foresters, Investors Group Inc., Kraft Canada Inc., Manulife Financial,
Nestlé, Purolator Courier Ltd., and The Co-operators.

    About the Canadian Association of Food Banks
    --------------------------------------------
    Founded in 1985, the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB) is an
umbrella organization representing a national network of regional and
community food banks, including provincial associations and food distribution
centres. CAFB is the voice of food banks in Canada, with members and their
respective agencies serving approximately 90% of people accessing emergency
food programs nation-wide. In the month of March 2006, over 753,000 different
people accessed food banks, 41% are children. In 2006, the CAFB moved over 8.5
 million pounds of food industry donations to its members through the National
Food Sharing System, the dollar value equivalent of $17 million. In addition
to food received from the CAFB, community-run food banks rely primarily on
volunteers to collect and distribute an estimated 150 million pounds of food
per year. CAFB conducts research, engages in public education and advocates
for policy change to eliminate the causes of hunger and food insecurity in
Canada. While CAFB provides food daily for people in need, its ultimate goal
is a hunger-free Canada.

    (*)HungerCount2006 http://www.cafb-acba.ca/documents/HungerCount_2006.pdf





For further information:

For further information: Michelle McEwan or Monika Kosecki at Strategic
Objectives, Tel: (416) 366-7735, Fax: (416) 366-2295, Email:
mmcewan@strategicobjectives.com.

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CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF FOOD BANKS

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