Many people do not realize the extent of hunger’s reach in this country.
Consider these figures:
• 900,000 – the number of Canadians assisted by food banks each month
• 93,000 – the number of first-time users each month
• 38 – the percentage of children and youth who rely on food banks
• 800 – the growing number of food banks across the country as of March 2012
• 20 – the percentage of households helped that are living on old age or disability pensions
• 23 – the percentage of two-parent families accessing food banks
• 55 – the percentage of food banks that cut down on the amount of food they distributed to each household due to a shortage in food, or lack of donations.
Food banks were started in the early 1980s as a short-term, emergency response to rapidly growing poverty. They are not, and were never meant to be, an acceptable long-term approach to this problem.
Raw data collected by The Salvation Army shows the need for food banks and feeding programs to be greater than ever.
Currently, The Salvation Army operates close to 320 food banks and feeding programs from coast to coast. Food- service workers report that the demand for food services is in part due to more and more working poor and families having to utilize their facilities. Some locations report that former donors are now turning to food pantries and meal programs for assistance.
What changes need to be made so fewer people will need to resort to food banks?
Statistics are according to Food Bank Canada’s “Hunger Count 2011”