BY BEVERLY HADLAND, AMBASSADOR TO THE FIRST PEOPLES
I recall my initial shock upon first learning that over forty percent of food produced in Canada becomes land fill refuse or compost. That amounts to $31 billion according to a CBC Radio report released on April 9, 2018
I was shocked because so many northern Indigenous communities can’t afford the high cost of nutritious food. A head of iceberg lettuce costs $7.09. Three pounds of no-name ground beef costs $22.00. Such is the added cost of transportation to remote areas. You can understand why cash strapped families buy junk food. It fills their bellies and stops the hunger pangs. Yes, they know it rots their teeth, causes obesity and continues the epidemic of chronic Type II Diabetes and many other diseases.
That can all be changed simply by getting nutritious food to the north at an affordable price. An item costing one dollar in a city will cost at least five dollars in the north all due to the cost of shipping. Many communities have no roads in except for six weeks on a winter road fashioned in the frozen landscape. Once that melts it is back to flying everything in.
Hundreds of farmers, manufacturers, charities and Christian organizations want to donate their products but they cannot cover the high cost of transportation. That is where you, our Crossroads partners, come in. Every dollar you donate leverages ten times that amount in product. Last year $60,000 in donations leveraged more than $600,000 worth of fresh and dehydrated vegetables, winter coats, sports equipment, socks, runners, fleece boot liners, gardening tools, medical supplies and discipleship resources including Indigenous Bibles.
The big problem is maintaining sufficient cash on hand to immediately ship a transport load of perishables. For example, a farmer has tons of fresh produce he is unable to sell. Any charity has only a few days to pick it up (keep it refrigerated) and find a recipient to receive the load. Crossroads is asked if we will cover the cost of shipping. It’s great when we can say, “YES”, because we have designated money for that exact purpose. Many times we have to respond, “NOT SURE if we can get the money fast enough.” The farmer will then decide to sell his potatoes for pennies to make ethanol for gasoline. You can see how time is of the essence. The farmer’s first choice was to donate his potatoes to feed hungry people not fill thirsty fuel tanks!
One hundred thousand dollars could be leveraged into shipping one million dollars of nutritious food and supplies. One million dollars could be leveraged into shipping ten million dollars and so on. Let’s work together to remove poverty from our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let’s channel love into action.
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