The Parallel Parliament

by Glen Pearson

Tag: food bank

More Than Turkey

Most of us have lots to be thankful for, but for those families facing a shortage of food supplies it remains a little tougher. That’s what the Gobbler Gallop is all about.

Started 8 years ago by Barry Smith of the Running Room in London, Ontario, the special run has benefitted the food bank each year at this time. It’s a family event, geared towards getting kids interested in helping those struggling to make ends meet. And it works. Each year families run together and when they’re done they get some special prizes and get to hear what the food bank is about.

Events like this are likely going on all across the country because Thanksgiving brings it out of us. We’re still a compassionate country and we continue to find ways, in spite of difficult economic times, of reaching out beyond ourselves. To Barry Smith and all the others, thank you for all you’ve done each and every year. And thanks for making it accessible to kids, helping them to learn generosity towards others at a young age. You can get a visual of just what it was like by looking at the video below.

To all of you, from my family, HAPPY THANKSGIVING. And thanks for your part in making our lives so special.

Street-level Politics

This past Saturday evening was our Santa Claus Parade – a London tradition that runs through my riding in its entirety. I put it in the Parallel Parliament on this occasion because it reveals, in microcosm, what good politics should be. Have a look at the video. In it you’ll see a compassionate and celebratory community lining the parade route and passing along non-perishable food items for the London Food Bank. It’s quite an operation. Firefighters, dressed in their bunker gear, move through the crowd accepting the food donations. They then hand them to students, who place the bags of food in grocery carts and wheel them back to the food bank floats for offloading. ¬†All this happens hundreds of times throughout the parade route.

In the middle of it all are politicians from every level of government. You’ll see our three MPPs, two MPs, our new mayor, and a good number of city councillors. I love just watching it because this is where every political representative should be – in the midst of citizens, stretching the community to reach its potential. It was a city coming together, with its political representatives smack dab in the middle of it all, sharing in the spirit.

My wife Jane and I still direct the London Food Bank, now in its 24 year, but this is our favourite food drive of every year. We see our donors up-close and personal for kilometres at a time. I was also a firefighter for 30 years before I got elected and you’ll see a good many of my former colleagues playing their own important role. Now, as an MP, it’s a pleasure working with colleagues from all levels of government for a couple of hours or so that defines our community. Politicians cooperating with citizens right down at street level: quite a concept.

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