Today, I want to talk about something serious. October 16 is World Food Day, a worldwide event intended to fight hunger around the world. It’s organized by the United Nations World Food Programme, a humanitarian organization that’s dear to my heart.
I grew up having everything I could ever ask for. I was never hungry. But for very close members of my family, that wasn’t always the case.
As you know, my father is from Cyprus. In the summer of 1974, the Turkish army invaded the island and headed for his hometown of Famagusta, where my grandparents, my uncles, my aunt and cousins lived. My family — including my two-year-old cousin, my uncle and my aunt who was due with her second baby that day — fled their homes. Along the way, my aunt went into labour. Her son, now an accomplished marathoner, was born along the way; he was “literally born running,” as my uncle says. They spent the first months of his life living with other refugees at a friend’s house. Like many, they relied on international aid for clothing and food.
Two years later, they came to Canada and we lived altogether in a single house; a mess of curly-haired cousins and mix of Greek and Newfie accents, the latter from my Mom. The photo above is my Mom (with a belly full of me), my aunt and cousins right after they arrived. With that background, we were not a household that threw away food. Ever. We believe strongly in hanging onto leftovers to this day.
I was honoured to be asked by the UN World Food Programme for the Toque Girls’ support in the World Food Day Campaign to end hunger. Please, watch this video about Molly and take the quiz at the end (it’s only three questions!). From now until Oct. 16, every time someone takes the quiz a meal is donated to a child through an anonymous World Food Programme sponsor. It costs 25 cents to provide a school meal; for hungry children worldwide, the promise of receiving a meal at school can mean the difference between getting an education or not.
Photo: WFP/Julie Marshall