generosity of spirit the courage to care

A long line of volunteers snaked out the door of the Whitehorse Food Bank for a couple of evenings this past week. The lead end of the line would meet the vans, cars and pickups that had fanned out across the community.

A long line of volunteers snaked out the door of the Whitehorse Food Bank for a couple of evenings this past week.

The lead end of the line would meet the vans, cars and pickups that had fanned out across the community. Those vehicles came back loaded by still more people freely offering their time and backs to go door-to-door gathering in filled bags for the In the Spirit of Caring food drive.

A long line of tables outside the main storage area of the food bank received the bags. Other hands emptied them and sorted the literally tonnes of non-perishable foods into designated plastic milk crates. The tables quickly filled.

The flexible line of the bag brigade then shift brown paper bags into all available spaces under the tables. It quickly reformed when this space was exhausted and aimed the steady stream of bags towards available spots on the floor of what is now a long hallway down towards the former bingo hall’s kitchen.

On the tables once the sorters filled a crate with a particular variety of goods, other folk moved them into the permanent storage area. There still more volunteers stocked the high shelves. The whole process was amazingly smooth. A genuine spirit of joy inspired the hall despite the heavy lifting required. Satisfaction will certainly allay the resulting muscle aches and pains.

Underpinning the well organized ecumenical church effort, of course, was the very generous response of thousands of Whitehorse households. The mounds of food received truly signal the optimism surrounding the launch of the Whitehorse Food Bank. Community support is absolutely essential to its success. This food drive has clearly demonstrated that our food bank is off to an excellent start.

Hunger, though, still largely remains a hidden problem in Yukon communities as elsewhere in Canada. The weekday Salvation Army and weekend ecumenical CYO Hall soup kitchens annually provide thousands of hot meals. School breakfast and lunch programs throughout the Yukon try to deal with the reality of hungry children. The Outreach Van, Grace Community Church, Kaushee’s Place, the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and a host of other groups across our territory also respond in one way or another to the reality of hunger here.

From a Food Banks Canada study we know that 37.1 per cent of food bank clients nationally were under 18 years of age. People with disabilities represent the third-largest group of food bank clients after social assistance recipients and the working poor. Single parent families remain one of the most vulnerable groups as well.

Once we can place a face on hunger we move one step closer to truly addressing the roots of this problem. Clearly the evidence of our community’s generosity of spirit this past week is encouraging. However do we care enough to change an economic system that accepts hunger and inequality as unavoidable consequences of its definition of prosperity?

The current economic crisis offers a real opportunity for reflection. Is a hunger-free Yukon possible? What policies and programs have to be put in place to make this a reality?

This Sunday is Pentecost. Christians celebrate this day when a small, fearful ban of followers of a slain leader found the courage to break their silence and set out to transform their world. Can we find that kind of courage to transform our own?

If you were missed by the ‘In the Spirit of Caring’ food drive you can always drop a bag of non-perishable goods off at the Whitehorse Food Bank at 306 Alexander. A check would certainly be appreciated as well.

Namaste notes

Sunday, May 31—Pentecost Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the first Apostles. Suggested readings are Acts 2: 1-11 and John 20: 19-23.

Tuesday, June 2—Pope Paul III issues an papal bull condemning the slavery of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and “all other people” in 1537.

Thursday, June 4—International Day of Innocent Child Victims of Aggression “reminds people that throughout the world there are many children suffering from different forms of abuse, and there is an urgent need to protect the rights of children.”

Friday, June 5—World Environment Day 2009 theme is Your Planet Needs You—Unite to Combat Climate Change.

Friday, June 5—Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

Michael Dougherty is co-chair of the social justice committee of Sacred Heart Cathedral of Whitehorse. Contact pazypan@yukon.net.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Hans Gatt wins inaugural 2021 Yukon Journey

The Yukon Journey, a 255-mile race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse, kicked off on Feb. 24

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022