Chilliwack and beyond challenged to share their next meal

The poverty fighting challenge launched Nov. 17 on social media is by three UFV students who created the hashtag #sharemynextmeal

UFV Global Development student Cydney Myers

People enjoy posting pics of their food on social media.

What if a community campaign to fight hunger made it even more meaningful?

UFV Global Development students Cydney Myers, Kara Hanson and Carolina Silva launched a charity challenge around this very question to encourage food bank donations.

The challenge went live Nov. 17 with the hashtag #sharemynextmeal, said team member Cydney Myers. They’re starting to see results already.

The goal is to raise community involvement and hunger awareness in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission  — and beyond.

The students were assigned the task of coming up something to help the hungry.

“Our Global Development Studies class focuses on development issues around the world but our professor, Cherie Enns, asked us to create a campaign that focuses on poverty within our own communities,” said Myers.

This is how it work. Once tagged and challenged, folks post a photo of their next meal, with the hashtag #sharemynextmeal on Twitter or Facebook page. They mention which community food bank they plan to “share” their meal with, by donating cash or non-perishables and tagging three friends they wish to challenge.

Myers is from Chilliwack, Hanson lives in Aldergrove and Silva is from Mission. But already their challenge has reached across the country to Ontario and into the U.S. in Colorado and Texas.

They saw an opportunity to harness the considerable power of social media.

Best of all they could do it without a budget.

“When we realized how easily we could spread the word, we decided to just go with it,” she recounted.

Also the very successful ALS ice bucket challenge proved that people were more apt to donate when challenged publicly.

“The idea is to remind people that most of us are very fortunate that we have nutritious food,” Myers said.

“We take snapshots of our meals using our iPhones and post the photos on social media sites accessed by our brand new computers, but not many of us take the time to consider that there are people going hungry right here in our own communities.”

It doesn’t matter if people take photographs of restaurant plates, or homemade meals, as long as they tag, share and donate.

“It is really a social experiment. I don’t know where it will lead,” Myers said.

Whatever happens, they had nothing to lose.

“I hope it encourages people to be aware of what’s happening in their own communities.

“And a little extra food on those shelves isn’t a bad thing either.”

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