The statistics are staggering.
According to the B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, one in five B.C. children live in poverty.
That means they are going to school without breakfast or lunch and in inadequate clothing. How are they expected to hit the books when their stomach is grumbling? They also sense the pressure their parents face to make ends meet.
Poverty is quickly becoming an entrenched part of society when you consider one in five of all rental households in Canada spends 50 per cent of its income on rent and 235,000 people are homeless each year across the country (State of Homeless report, 2014).
Hunger Count says 841,191 people visited Canadian food banks in March 2014. Anyone around in the 1980s remembers food banks were supposed to be temporary.
With these figures in mind, that's why events like last Friday's Empty Bowls fundraiser at Hotel 540 are so important.
The Kamloops Food Bank raised $17,000 (including a $10,000 donation from the B.C. Lottery Corporation) through a creative endeavour it borrowed from Winnipeg.
Artists created bowls, which were then sent to various well-known people to sign and send back.
The bowls were then auctioned off during a luncheon featuring an array of soups cooked up by various Kamloops restaurants.
The soups were delicious and the bowl auction (along with a silent auction of myriad items) will help fill the bowls of those in need.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a bowl, as did Kamloops Olympians. A bowl signed by actor Johnny Depp (complete with a self-portrait) was the Super Bowl of bowls, fetching $1,800 during the live auction.
We all need to become informed about the world around us.
Those in poverty can be our neighbours, our co-workers and our loved ones. They can be us.