The number of people in the world who have difficulty accessing enough food is climbing once again after it had been in decline for some time. 

Gordon Janzen, Manitoban representative for Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFB) is urging Canadians to remember the poor in other parts of the world affected by lockdowns brought on by COVID-19.

The CFB, which is an association of 15 national church agencies, is mandated to address the challenges of global food security.

"According to the United Nations, there are over 820 million people who are food insecure," says Janzen. "That number had been coming down over the last number of years but is, unfortunately, climbing up a little now."

Of those 820 million, approximately 135 million are acutely food insecure, meaning they are unable to regularly source nutrition on a daily basis. Janzen says that the COVID-19 issue may almost double that number by the end of the year.

Member agencies are doing the work on the ground with their partners in over 36 countries around the world. These programs manifest in three different ways. The largest category is emergency food assistance like food distribution in refugee camps, handing out food vouchers, and sometimes, cash for emergency situations.

we had 36 growing projects across the province. These are run by farmers or groups of farmers who collectively grow the crop and donate the proceeds. That money is used by our members in their food programs."

Last year's harvest season was a difficult one for farmers. Current uncertainty regarding prices and supply chain security are also cause for concern.

However, Janzen says that they are cautiously optimistic that they will be able to go ahead with many of their growing projects.

"I've heard from farmers and our projects that they are going ahead mostly as usual. They're getting ready to seed crops in many parts of Manitoba in the next couple weeks."

Money raised in Canada is also matched by the government. CFB is in the final year of a five-year agreement with the government which matches up to 4 times the amount given, depending on the program, capped at a maximum of $25 million.

Janzen acknowledges the current financial difficulties for Canadians, but also expressed gratitude to the many donors who are responding.

"We often invite people to give and they do. That support is very much appreciated. We also ask people to pray for those who are hungry and to learn about those who are food insecure today. We also ask people to advocate before our government leaders to keep Canada a strong and generous nation toward those who are in need."