Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, and one thing to be grateful for in the Shuswap is food.
With the current famine in eastern Africa, I have been thinking a lot about hunger and my first experience witnessing hunger.
My family had a habit of going on unconventional holidays and for this one we were trekking through some rural villages in Thailand. I was about seven years old, and while walking through this village, I accidentally stepped on the foot of a baby chick. It started limping, and before I could do anything, one of the local children picked it up, threw it in the fire, and ate it.
When I saw this, I immediately started bawling and went to find my mother. I was totally traumatized.
In my seven-year-old, middle-class urban mind it was a cruel and barbaric act. Imagine eating a poor injured baby chick.
At that time, I had eaten chicken, but probably not made the connection between the shrink-wrapped thing from the grocery store and the animal.
I also had never been truly hungry. My mother tried to console me by telling me the chicken would not have survived with a broken foot, and the child was hungry, but I was not convinced.
This experience may explain why I became a vegetarian in high school, and now still shy away from the “baby” meats like veal and lamb.
Although we have not had famine here, we do have people who don’t have enough to eat – especially nutritious food.
We live in a strange society where it is cheaper to buy deep-fried ramen noodles (such as Mr. Noodles) shipped from China than our own local fruits and vegetables.
One idea for this Thanksgiving is to donate some healthy food or money to the local food bank. For those home gardeners who have excess fall bounty, Second Harvest accepts donations, including homegrown fruits and vegetables, on Wednesdays 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Fridays 10 to 2 p.m. Second Harvest is located behind the Salmar Classic Theatre, by the Ross Street parking lot.
The Salvation Army Food Bank (191 Second Ave. NE, near Java Jive) also accepts donations, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, or Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For convenience, most grocery stores also accept donations for these local food banks.
-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.