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Reflections on the first half of 2020/Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day eve/the start of the second half of 2020 seems like a good time to reflect on life lately/the pandemic/the country I’m so proud to call home. It’s been a wild few months.

Leftovers and Fresh Routes had big plans this year, then COVID hit and wow…Leftovers Calgary rescued and donated 292,750 pounds of food in Calgary over the last SIX months! To put that in perspective, we rescued 311,000 pounds of food in ALL OF 2019. Through Fresh Routes, we also saw a need and quickly launched a COVID Emergency Delivery Program, in multiple languages. None of this would be possible without my amazing team and volunteers. Leftovers has 782 volunteers in Calgary! And COVID-19 didn’t stop us from working on other projects that were planned for 2020, like anew, a new member driven upcycling food organization.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m passionate about food access and food security. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on these areas and I’ve been compiling a list of what we’ve learned so far. I believe, we all need to agree that safe access to nutritious, affordable food is a human right. We need to start there. We need a future free from hunger. Hunger is a massive barrier to so many other things. How can a child learn if they are hungry? How can a parent teach if they are hungry? How can someone look for work if they are hungry? How can someone go to work if they are hungry? I hope our decision makers draw from our pandemic experience….We need a stronger emphasis on local food supply chains. And we must look at the issue of food insecurity from a social justice and human rights perspective.

I’m proud to live in a country where so many orgs are working together, creatively, to solve problems such as food insecurity. We have so much surplus food in our society, and so many hungry people. There’s a logical solution. Surplus food needs to be shared and redistributed. Canada Day has always held a special place for my family and I. My parents moved here as teenagers and worked like crazy for my sisters and I. My mom had 3 jobs when I was a kid, including at a grocery store, so we could get a discount on food.

As I reflect and look to the future, I will work every day, alongside the teams at Leftovers and Fresh Routes and hundreds of volunteers, to ensure Calgarians have safe access to nutritious, affordable food. We’re so lucky to be doing the work we do here in Canada. Happy Canada Day!