TORONTO, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - A troubling new report released today by The Salvation Army indicates that a majority of their food banks and feeding programs, 40 percent of those surveyed, saw a decline in donations in the last 12 months; while three-quarters of food centres indicated that they saw demand for food services increase. Additionally, a majority of respondents, 60 percent, said that their food shelves were either 'half-full' or at a 'low' or 'dangerously low' level.
During the Thanksgiving season, The Salvation Army is increasing its efforts to restock and resupply, calling on Canadians for food items and in-kind donations that will support the nation's neediest.
"Thanksgiving is one of our busiest periods for food service and distribution," said Graham Moore, Territorial Secretary for Public Relations and Development with The Salvation Army. "We remain committed to serving Canadians in need with warm meals and groceries, but we also need the public's commitment to help meet this year's heightened demand."
The report, "Restocking the Shelves," releases survey results collected from 139 different Salvation Army officers and employees across Canada. Additional data collected by The Salvation Army, demonstrates that the need has never been greater. Year-over-year data shows that The Salvation Army served approximately 25,000 more people and 65,000 additional meals in the first quarter of 2009 as compared to the first quarter of 2008. Even as some signs indicate that Canada is now emerging from a global economic recession, more people than ever are relying on social service agencies, like The Salvation Army, to meet their most basic needs.
The "Restocking the Shelves" report is the first time that The Salvation Army has released statistics and data from its national network of food centres and programs. The survey and subsequent report were conducted as a result of individual accounts that pantry levels were alarmingly low this year. A spike in demand coupled by an overall drop in supplies has led to a downward trend that has left many shelves empty this fall.
"As a national trend, it appears that our food services and programs are taking a hit from the prolonged effects of the recession," said Graham Moore. "We'll continue to do more with less, hopeful that the generosity of donors and volunteers will answer the needs of those shaken by economic hardship."
The Salvation Army is the nation's largest provider of direct non-governmental social service, serving 2.6 million meals last year alone. The public is encouraged to donate food items, make in-kind donations or volunteer their time at a The Salvation Army centre.
The detailed findings from "Restocking the Shelves" are available online at www.SalvationArmy.ca.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and 118 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.
SOURCE The Salvation Army
For further information: For further information: Andrew Burditt, Territorial Public Relations Director, The Salvation Army, (416) 845-8231, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.SalvationArmy.ca