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RSS FeedsJump in food bank use called `canary in the coal mine´
(The Star Toronto Raptors)


4 november 2019 13:24:21

Jump in food bank use called `canary in the coal mine´
(The Star Toronto Raptors)

Food bank use in the Toronto region is growing as more people struggle with low incomes and the galloping cost of living, says the Daily Bread Food Bank.In the year ending March 2019, food bank visits topped one million in Toronto and Mississauga, according to the annual Who’s Hungry report being released at Queen’s Park Monday.After dipping in 2017-18, visits jumped by 4 per cent this year, double the rate of population growth in the area, adds the report, which for the first time includes food banks in Mississauga.“The food bank is the canary in the coal mine,” said Daily Bread’s executive director Neil Hetherington. “That’s why this research is critically important. It is letting people know what is happening on the ground almost in real time.”The annual survey of 1,400 food bank clients, conducted in March, tells the larger story of thousands of people living in a prosperous region who still struggle with hunger, he said in an interview.“Low incomes and the rising cost of living mean that our neighbours are struggling more and more to put food on the table,” he said.“Hunger is not a food issue, it’s an income issue. And it’s also a cost of living issue,” Hetherington added. “How do we reduce precarious employment, make sure individuals have appropriate disability and (welfare) support, access to affordable housing, transportation and child care? Those are the types of things we need to work on.”Lack of affordable housing is a driver of both poverty and food insecurity in the Toronto region, the report notes. Food bank users are spending an average of 6 per cent more on rent since last year while food costs in the Toronto area have increased by almost 8 per cent, the report says. Almost all survey respondents reported incomes below Canada’s official poverty line, which in Toronto is defined as $41,362 for a family of two adults and two children.About 53 per c ...

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