Jul 5, 2024

Client spotlight: Waruna and Prabodha

Waruna had a successful career as a chef in Sri Lanka when a company offered to sponsor him for a high-paying job in Canada. He seized the opportunity; this was a chance at a better life. But that dream became a nightmare when he and his family arrived. The company that sponsored him did not follow through on any of their promises, leaving him jobless with no chance of finding other work on his closed work permit.

The first few months after they arrived in Canada were incredibly difficult for Waruna and his wife, Prabodha. They didn’t have enough money for food and other necessities. Prabodha recalled: “We only had tea during the day and one meal at night so that we could save the little food we had for our children.” Over four months’ time, Waruna’s weight dropped from 93 kilograms to 61 kilograms.

Waruna and Prabodha are not alone; 31% of food bank clients reported going an entire day without eating (Who’s Hungry 2023).

Seeing their struggles, a friend suggested they access the food bank at his church. When asked what access to emergency food has meant for them, Waruna said, “I don’t have the words to explain it in English…” His voice trailed off as he visibly became overcome with emotion. “Now we don’t have to worry,” explained his wife. “We know that if the cupboard is bare on Monday, we can come to the food bank on Tuesday and we will have food for our children. We are happy if we have just lentils and rice, but we can get so much more at the food bank — milk and snacks for our kids, eggs, and lots of different fruits.”

Having access to fresh food and staples has meant so much to them that they recently started volunteering at the food bank. “We want to give back to the organization that helped us so much,” said Waruna. “We can’t give money, but we can give our manpower.” He displayed his pride in giving back with a big grin across his face.

Click here to find how Daily Bread advocates for solutions to end poverty and food insecurity for families like Waruna and Prabodha’s.

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