The 2023 Hunger Report is painting a stark picture of food insecurity in Ontario.
“What keeps me up at night is the concept of our network collapsing,” said Feed Ontario CEO Carolyn Stewart
The Feed Ontario 2023 Hunger Report revealing that over 800,000 people accessed emergency food support last year, visiting more than 5.9 million times. That’s the largest single-year increase ever recorded by Ontario food bank network.
The report highlights the growth of precarious work and a failure to invest in affordable housing as contributing factors behind foodbank use.
“Sometimes people forget foodbanks are meant as an emergency measure to an emergency need, not as a solution to food insecurity and poverty,” said Stewart.
Feed Ontario says a major driver of this extraordinary growth came from people who had never had to rely on a food bank before, with two in five people being first-time visitors, a 41 per cent increase over the previous year.
“We see how it happens, everybody has trouble affording groceries as it is… how do you do it if you are a low-income individuals… so this link between food-insecurity and homelessness is now key — because if you fall out of one, you end up in the other,” said London Foodbank Co-Director Glen Pearson.
Feed Ontario is now saying this trend can’t continue — making a number of key recommendations.
“Improvements to social assistance programs, making sure the rates are keeping up with the cost of living, that on top of investments in affordable housing and addressing the housing shortages,” explained Stewart.
Source : CTV