Food for Thought Blog

Annual Event Raises Awareness about Food Insecurity

September 26th, 2019Events

Since 2014, we have hosted Waffles in the Warehouse as an opportunity to raise awareness about food insecurity in our community and how hunger can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

The stigma surrounding food insecurity can make it difficult to find someone willing to share their personal journey.

Will they be judged? Will friends, colleagues or peers look at them or treat them differently?

This year, we welcomed Chris Martin as our keynote speaker where – for the first time – he bravely shared his story about growing up without enough food on the table.

“From the outside looking in, my life appeared normal,” he shared. “I grew up not far from here with two loving parents and a wonderful brother. But I’m here today to tell you, there was much more to my story.”

And although his story is historical, Chris stressed the reality is that more than 34,552 people and 1 in 20 households in our community accessed food assistance just last year alone.

“Five percent of people in this room have accessed or currently access food assistance,” he shared. “That should tell you what I already know, food insecurity is closer than many of us realize. Maybe it’s a pair of brakes on your car, sudden job loss, or maybe an unexpected illness.”

Not only did Chris share his eye-opening story but he helped people recognize that hunger isn’t always easy to see and that it exists on every street and in every community. He also encouraged people to ask for the help they need.

“To everyone here today, there are kids in your classrooms, friends in your neighbourhoods and colleagues in your office that are struggling to put food on the table.”

Possible Signs of Food Insecurity:
  • Bags under their eyes
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Paleness
  • Negative behaviours – especially in children – around meal time

If you missed Waffles in the Warehouse or want to re-live the event, click here to watch Chris’s full keynote speech.

Chris’ story was an important part of the day, providing important insight into the true impact we have in the lives of those accessing food assistance. We also took a look back at 35 years of feeding hungry neighbours as well as a looked toward the future of food insecurity.

We began the morning with an interesting fireside chat discussing the future of food banks and hunger with Joanne Santucci, Executive Director, Hamilton Food Shares and Marc Guay, former President, PepsiCo Canada. The panel, moderated by Wendi Campbell, CEO of The Food Bank, took a look at the evolution of food banks and how what started as a short-term measure to help families get back on their feet has become a critical community resource and service.

If you are interested in watching the panel, please click here.

On October 15, 2019, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region will turn 35. While we struggled with calling this milestone a celebration we wanted to take the opportunity to look back over the years and highlight the impact we’ve had throughout Waterloo Region, and the collaboration that has changed the lives of those in Waterloo Region.

We asked community partners past and present to be part of the conversation and help us take a look back at 35 years of feeding hungry neighbours, click here to watch the video.

Waffles in the Warehouse was eye-opening and insightful and helped us better understand our impact in the community and all we have achieved since opening our doors in 1984.