HungerCount 2014 offers a deep look at the root causes of the need for food banks
OTTAWA, Nov. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Far too many Canadians are being left behind and counting on food banks to get by, according to HungerCount 2014, a national study released today by Food Banks Canada.
Food bank use increased in 2014. The report shows that in a typical month, food banks in Canada now provide food and other supports to more than three quarters of a million separate individuals – 841,000 people. This means 170,000 more people each month are seeking assistance, compared to when the economic downturn started in 2008 – a 25% increase. The report also highlights the troubling trends that contribute to the increase in household food insecurity and food bank use across the country.
"The job market is very tough right now," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, which coordinated the national study involving more than 4,000 food programs. "The unfortunate combination of low-paying jobs, inadequate supports for the unemployed, and a lack of training opportunities for Canadians is keeping food bank use near record levels."
The HungerCount 2014 study found that:
- Each month, 90,000 Canadians are forced to ask for help from a food bank for the first time.
- 4 in 10 of those relying on this assistance are children.
- The number of single adults helped by food banks each month has doubled since 2001 - from 80,000 to 158,000.
"It has been six years since the recession sent food bank use soaring," continued Schmidt. "It is time to stop waiting for things to improve – it is time to start acting to make real investments in policies that will reduce the need for food banks."
The HungerCount 2014 report proposes key policy recommendations that can make significant progress in reducing the number of people who need help from food banks. These include:
- Investing in affordable housing,
- Providing more effective supports to low-income families with children, and
- Helping Canadians get the skills they need for the well-paying jobs of today.
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. www.foodbankscanada.ca/hungercount. #HungerCount
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.
Video with caption: "HungerCount 2014 Video". Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0GB_YDamjQ
Image with caption: "HungerCount 2014 (CNW Group/Food Banks Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141104_C4212_PHOTO_EN_7504.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), [email protected] .