Hunger Awareness Week: Who Do You Think Uses the Food Bank?

Over 375,000 adults, including 131,000 children, visit food banks in Ontario every single month.

TORONTO, May 5th, 2014 /CNW/ - May 5th – 9th is Hunger Awareness Week in Canada, a campaign created to promote an understanding about what hunger looks like in this country, and about what life is like for someone when food is out of reach. This year, the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is asking a very important question: Who do you think uses the food bank? The truth may surprise you.

 "Children are by far the largest single group of food bank users in Ontario," says Bill Laidlaw, Executive Director of the OAFB. "Students, recent graduates, and senior citizens are some of the fastest growing groups of food bank users, and individuals who have full or part-time employment - but still cannot make ends meet – are of particular concern."

Throughout Hunger Awareness Week, the OAFB, in partnership with JUSTDOINGIT, will be releasing a photograph campaign that details the surprising reality of hunger in Ontario. Statistics from the campaign include:

  • 40% of all food bank users in Ontario are children under 18 years of age
  • Senior citizens over 65 years of age are one of the fastest growing groups of food bank users in Ontario
  • The deindustrialization of Ontario has led to a dramatic rise in food bank use. Since the 2008 recession, 80% of all jobs created in Canada are temporary positions
  • This month alone, 16,294 Ontario households accessed food banks for the very first time in their lives
  • There is a food bank on every college and university campus in Ontario

The OAFB believes that the Ontario government should take an active role in tackling the root causes of hunger, particularly in addressing why there are so many individuals and families going hungry in this province today. The government should take action by creating a housing benefit for low-income tenants, developing a provincial and national food policy that ultimately provides access to affordable, nutritious food, and complete a thorough review of Ontario's social assistance programs, while focusing on an increase in secure, quality employment.

"By addressing the causes of poverty, the government will address hunger in our communities," says Laidlaw. "I believe that we can end hunger."

The hashtag for Hunger Awareness Week is #HungerWeek

For more information, please visit: OntarioHunger.ca or OAFB.ca

About Ontario Association of Food Banks

The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of 127 food banks and over 1,100 hunger relief programs and agencies across the province. Together, we serve 375,000 individuals, including 131,000 children, every month. The OAFB is committed to reducing hunger through sustainable solutions that ensure the long-term health and success of communities across the province.

About JUSTDOINGIT

JUSTDOINGIT creates and spreads remarkable ideas that inspire lives and organizations. Our mission is to challenge conventional thinking by transforming minds. We hope to ignite a passion and fire that takes a lifetime to distinguish, but the results of which are seen immediately. To learn more, visit: justdoingit.ca

SOURCE: Ontario Association of Food Banks

For further information: For more information or to request an interview with Bill Laidlaw, please contact: Amanda King, Manager of Communications, Ontario Association of Food Banks, amanda@oafb.ca, 416-656-4100 x2932

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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