Food bank usage in GTA continues to rise

Daily Bread Food Bank releases early statistics from annual survey

TORONTO, May 31 /CNW/ - Despite an improving economy, food banks in the Greater Toronto Area reported a 15 per cent increase in client visits, a new report from Daily Bread Food Bank finds. The Hunger Snapshot released today shows a total of 1,187,000 visits to food banks from April 2009 to March 2010. This is the largest one year increase since social assistance rates were cut 21.6 per cent in the mid-1990s.

The report also finds that individuals and families are spending most of their limited income on housing, and many new clients are visiting food banks because they have lost their jobs, or have had their hours reduced at work.

"The Hunger Snapshot shows economic recovery has not yet benefited the most vunerable, particularly those in survival jobs," says Gail Nyberg, executive director of Daily Bread Food Bank. "Without affordable, safe housing and job opportunities, we will continue to see more people visiting food banks. When people are spending an average of 68% of their income on rent and utilities, what's left over for everything else? And food banks are feeling the strain to try and continue providing services to so many people."

The full report on the results of the annual survey will be released on September 24, 2010, at the beginning of Daily Bread Food Bank's Fall Drive. Some early results can be found in the Hunger Snapshot, available online at www.dailybread.ca.

Other statistical highlights in the Hunger Snapshot include:

    
    -  Percentage of new clients (6 months or less) coming because of job
       loss or reduced hours at work: 46%
    -  Percentage of food bank clients who are children: 34%
    -  Percentage of adults who go hungry at least once a week: 39%
    -  Percentage of food bank clients who are single parents: 19%
    -  Percentage of food bank clients who have a serious illness or are
       seriously disabled: 45%
    

Daily Bread Food Bank is an independent, non-profit, charitable organization that is fighting to end hunger in our communities. As Canada's largest food bank, Daily Bread serves people through neighbourhood food banks and meal programs in its 171 member agencies across Toronto. We know feeding hungry people won't solve poverty; that's why Daily Bread does more. We work to support people by providing job training; researching and educating people on issues of poverty and moving forward with innovative and realistic solutions that will help people break away from poverty.

SOURCE Daily Bread Food Bank

For further information: For further information: Sarah Anderson, Communications & Marketing Officer, T: (416) 203-0050 ext. 238, M: (416) 450-2196, E: sarah@dailybread.ca


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