April 23, 2019

1 in 3 people helped by food banks in Canada are children

Millions of people in Canada turn to food banks for help every year. The stats are hard to believe but true. 4 million Canadians are food insecure and struggle to put enough food on the table. Every day they face tough decisions about how to make ends meet. The root cause of hunger in Canada is simple: Low income. Food Banks Canada is the only national charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians living with hunger. It supports a network of Provincial Associations, Affiliate food banks, and food agencies working at the community level to relieve hunger.

Even though Canada is a wealthy nation, it is plagued with food insecurity. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians visit food banks weekly, including children. The numbers are beyond doubt disturbing. What can be done to alleviate the severity of this acute problem? There is no simple answer to this question as food security is about individuals having access to adequate, safe and nutritious food, both in quantity and quality, to meet their daily dietary requirements for a healthy and productive life. This can easily be compromised by poverty, mental health issues, lack of education, economic cycles and much more. It is rather complex to respond to this crisis without a well-thought out multi-pronged approach.

The only easy way to approach this epidemic is for every Canadian to pitch in with whatever they can to donate to food banks. On the outside, it may look like a few cans or a bag of spaghetti, but when added to a carton full of non-perishable items, every little contribution goes a long way.

Some critics of the food bank like Elaine Power, an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University, who has served on the board of the Partners in Mission Food Bank are of the opinion that food banks let governments off the hook from their obligations to ensure income security for all Canadians. In her own words, “Food banks can never solve the problem of poverty. It’s time to hold our governments accountable to their obligation to ensure that all Canadians have a standard of living adequate for health and well-being. Giving food to those who are hungry is a simple response that everyone supports. Tackling poverty means wrestling with diverse ideas

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