Daily Bread sees 7th straight year of increased food bank use



    Asks the public to "make their mark" in the Hungry City

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - Daily Bread Food Bank's Who's Hungry: 2007
Profile of Hunger in the GTA shows an increase in food bank use for the
seventh consecutive year. Released today at Yonge Street Mission, one of Daily
Bread's member agencies, the report found that 905,543 people used a food bank
between April 2006 and March 2007, an increase of 1.3% from 2006. Who's Hungry
was released against the backdrop of a photography exhibit demonstrating
hunger from the perspective of people living with it.
    "The depth of our hunger crisis is staggering," said Michael Oliphant,
Daily Bread's director of research and communications. "Client stories are
diverse, but have in common a lack of secure income due to an unstable work
force, low government benefits, and lack of social supports such as child care
and housing."

    
    Who's Hungry also found that:
    -   27% of households using food banks have at least one person working,
        up from 12% in 1997
    -   food bank clients living in market rental housing pay 75% of their
        monthly income on rent - 30% of one's income spent on rent is
        generally considered affordable
    -   food bank clients live in extreme poverty - the median annual
        household income is just $11,748, well below any measure of poverty
    -   51% of respondents identified as having a disability or serious
        illness, yet only 49% of those are receiving disability benefits
    -   40% of respondents go hungry at least once a week
    -   On a more positive note, food bank use among children declined from
        38% to 34%
    

    Along with Who's Hungry, Daily Bread launched an initiative called Hungry
City: Make Your Mark calling on the next Ontario government to implement A New
Deal to Fight Hunger, a comprehensive poverty reduction plan with targets and
timelines. As proof of that commitment, Daily Bread asks the Liberals,
Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats to commit to appointing a Minister
for Social Inclusion as part of their campaign platforms. The new Minister
would orient policies in the areas of Children, Welfare & Work, People with
Disabilities, Immigrants and Housing toward poverty reduction. A similar plan
already exists in the United Kingdom, and has been successful in reducing
child poverty by 23%.
    "It's not enough to know 'if' politicians support making poverty
reduction a priority, we need to know 'how' they plan on doing it," declared
Daily Bread's executive director Gail Nyberg. "Hungry City is about harnessing
the public's concern about the hunger crisis and turning it into real
political action. Our ambitious target is 50,000 names because we can't be a
great city as long as we are a hungry city."
    "The UK experience has seen that a real commitment to poverty reduction
along with independent measures of progress can achieve results," said Lisa
Harker, a noted poverty expert from the UK who recently tabled a report on the
UK's commitment to end child poverty by 2020.
    Supporters can go to hungrycity.ca to sign on, spread the word and get
involved. Daily Bread will be involved in a number of high visibility events
leading into the provincial election to keep awareness of the issue of hunger
high.

    About Who's Hungry 2007

    Who's Hungry: 2007 Profile of Hunger in the GTA illustrates the depth of
the hunger crisis in the GTA. Based on a survey of one-on-one interviews
conducted with 1802 food bank clients at food banks across the GTA, it is the
only survey of its kind in Canada. It is done in partnership with North York
Harvest Food Bank, York Region Food Network and the Social Assistance in the
New Economy Project at the University of Toronto.





For further information:

For further information: Gabrielle Chackal, Communications & Marketing
Officer, Tel: (416) 203-0050 ext. 238, Cell: (416) 819-2196, Email:
gabrielle@dailybread.ca


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