Food bank use still at record highs

HungerCount 2013 shows number of Canadians helped each month 25% higher than five years ago

OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Too many Canadians are struggling just to put food on the table, and food bank use continues to hover at record levels according to HungerCount 2013, a national study released today by Food Banks Canada.

The report highlights that in a typical month, food banks in Canada now provide food to more than three quarters of a million separate individuals - 833,000 people - and nearly 4 in 10 of those helped are children.

"Far too many people are looking into an empty fridge and wondering how they're going to feed themselves and their kids," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, which coordinated the national study involving more than 4,000 food programs.

The HungerCount 2013 study found that:

  • Each month, 80,000 Canadians are forced to ask for help from a food bank for the first time.
  • Nearly 40,000 of those helped each month are seniors with incomes too meagre to afford enough food.
  • 1 in 6 households assisted by food banks have employment income, yet still can't make ends meet.

"The inability to obtain enough food, when it is abundant all around us, is physically and psychologically scarring," continued Schmidt. "It is simply unacceptable in a nation as prosperous as Canada. We are calling on the federal and provincial governments to make real investments in policies that will reduce the need for food banks."

The HungerCount 2013 report provides policy recommendations that can make significant progress in reducing the number of people who need help from food banks. Recommendations include:

  • Increase access to affordable housing, so that Canadians are not forced to choose between paying rent or buying food.
  • Increase investment in education and training for Canadians at risk of failing in the job market, so that people can become self-sufficient through employment.
  • Invest in local food solutions in the North, to help Northern Canadians build the capacity to feed themselves.
  • Revolutionize social assistance, so people can build self-sufficiency instead of being trapped in poverty.

For a full copy of the HungerCount 2013 report, visit http://foodbankscanada.ca/FoodBanks/MediaLibrary/HungerCount/HungerCount2013.pdf.

Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hungercount/id567779411?ls=1&mt=8 to get the HungerCount app for iPhone and iPad.

About the HungerCount Survey

HungerCount was initiated in 1989, and is the only annual national research study of food banks and other food programs in Canada. Since 1997, data for the study have been collected every March. The information provided by the survey is invaluable, forming the basis of many Food Banks Canada activities throughout the year.

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada supports a unique network of food-related organizations in every province and territory, which assists more than 800,000 Canadians each month. Together our network shares over 200 million pounds of essential, safe, quality food annually, provides social programs that help to foster self-sufficiency, and advocates for policy change that will help create a Canada where no one goes hungry. Visit foodbankscanada.ca for more information.

Relieving hunger today. Preventing hunger tomorrow.

Image with caption: "Food Bank Use, Unemployment, and Poverty, 2003-2013 (CNW Group/Food Banks Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131105_C9482_PHOTO_EN_32860.jpg

Image with caption: "Food Bank Use in Canada (CNW Group/Food Banks Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131105_C9482_PHOTO_EN_32862.jpg

SOURCE: Food Banks Canada

For further information:

Media contact: Marzena Gersho, Food Banks Canada, 647-242-5919 (mobile) or (905) 602-5234, ext. 228 (office), marzena@foodbankscanada.ca


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