The number of Christmas food hampers distributed in Summerland rose significantly this year.
Last week, a total of 143 hampers were distributed to households in the community, up from 120 a year earlier.
The hampers provided for 300 people, one third of them children.
Over the past year, 557 people from 239 Summerland households received food bank assistance.
Problems of hunger and poverty do not just exist in other parts of the world. The same problems are present here, in our community. People we know are affected.
The Summerland Food Bank was established 30 years ago, in 1984. Each year since then, the need has continued to increase.
The growing demand for food bank assistance is not unique to Summerland. Similar trends have been observed provincially and nationally.
Over the past year, 97,369 British Columbians received assistance from food banks.
Across Canada, food banks assist 841,191 people each month.
The people of Summerland have been generous in their support of the food bank, especially as the festive season approaches.
Individuals, schools, service organizations and businesses have collected food and cash donations to help meet the demand at this time of the year.
The same level of generosity shows in the annual Toys and Toonies for Tots and Teens gift drive.
While this outpouring of support is heartwarming and inspiring, more is needed.
In addition to giving generously, it is important to examine the causes of poverty in our community and to take measures to address those causes.
The growing need for food bank assistance is a disturbing trend which must not continue unchecked.