One in six children go hungry in Canada.
United Way Central Alberta is proving that statistic true, with its #Unignorable campaign that started in September.
The campaign’s goal is to make local issues unignorable and it draws on art for social change.
On Tuesday, the agency removed a temporary art installation at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre. The agency placed six lunch boxes at the centre, five of them filled with non-perishable food items for school children.
One of the lunch kits was left empty to showcase hunger – an issue the campaign is highlighting. The lunch kits were representative of the statistic: one in six children in Canada go hungry.
United Way CEO Brett Speight said the issue is not only common in Canada, but also in central Alberta.
“The five had food, while the sixth one just had one granola bar, which is indicative of what you would see with somebody who doesn’t have enough food.
“They may just have a granola bar for lunch as opposed to a full meal,” he explained.
While clearing up the art display, the agency took note that all the lunchboxes were empty.
“Whether it was kids grabbing those snacks, or maybe an adult who needed some food for their family – it highlights the importance of the message – which is hunger is a real issue in our community, and it’s one of our unignorable issue.
“And the fact that all the food was gone reinforces that,” said Speight.
The agency set up four art installations across Red Deer. A temporary art display that focused on homelessness in the community was installed at the Recreation Centre, and two others focusing on mental health and domestic violence were located at the Collicutt Centre.
The art displays provided some information to the people who came across them, said Speight.
“So you’d say, ‘I’m not sure what I’m looking at,’ but it would draw you in. We put posters with each one that refers people to our website for more information,” he said.
The agency’s campaign last year impacted 15,000 lives in central Alberta. Speight would like to see that number grow this year.
The campaign last year raised $2 million, but it’s not all about dollars. It’s about having an impact on as many people as possible, said Speight.
Early indications suggest the campaign is ahead of last year so far, said the CEO, with the hope that the #Unignorable art installations will bring attention to the issues in central Alberta and keep the campaign going.