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Media Advisory: Fall Drive launches with release of new report on hunger

WHAT: Daily Bread Food Bank is launching its annual Fall Drive with a new report showing how hunger and poverty are costing the people of Toronto. Gail Nyberg will reveal the goals of this year’s Fall Drive and why it’s so important to donate. Richard Matern will be sharing the results of the Who’s Hungry: 2011 Profile of Hunger in the GTA and what we want the provincial government to start doing on October 7 that will help lift people out of poverty and create long-term change. Find out what needs to be done by us, by you and by the government to help fight hunger.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Nellie’s (Shelter and community support for women and children) 754 Queen Street East at Broadview and Queen

WHO: Wendy Sung-Aad, Development Manager, Nellie’s
Richard Matern, (A) Director of Research, Daily Bread Food Bank
Gail Nyberg, Executive Director, Daily Bread Food Bank

For more information: 

Sarah Anderson
(A) Director, Communications
T: 416-203-0050 ext. 238
C: 416-450-2196
E: sarah@dailybread.ca


Date Added: September 20, 2011 | Filed under: Fall Drive, News — Jessica @ 4:37 pm



Fall Drive launch and release of Who’s Hungry Report

On Wednesday, September 21, Daily Bread Food Bank will launch its annual Fall Drive with a new report showing how hunger and poverty are costing the people of Toronto. Gail Nyberg will reveal the goals of this year’s Fall Drive and why it’s so important to donate at Nellie’s, a Daily Bread member agency. Richard Matern will be sharing the results of the Who’s Hungry: 2011 Profile of Hunger in the GTA and what we want the provincial government to start doing on October 7 that will help lift people out of poverty and create long-term change. Find out what needs to be done by us, by you and by the  government to help fight hunger.


Date Added: | Filed under: Events, Fall Drive — Jessica @ 4:37 pm



Media Release: Fall Drive launches with release of new report on hunger

TORONTO – As Ontario’s economy has struggled to recover, so has Daily Bread and member agencies like Nellie’s, a shelter that provides meal programs to homeless women and their children in downtown Toronto and where a new report on hunger in the GTA was released today.

“After unsustainable increases of 8 per cent in 2009 and 16 per cent in 2010, client visits are starting to edge down and we can finally report a small decrease in client visits by 9 per cent last year,” announced Gail Nyberg, Executive Director at Daily Bread Food Bank. “The bad news is that with 1.1 million client visits, GTA food banks are still seeing 130,000 more client visits a year than they were before the recession three years ago.”

Many who need the support don’t come to food banks because they struggle with the stigma associated in coming to a food bank. While the number of people coming to a food bank is an indicator of how broken the social assistance system is and how many people are living in poverty, it merely scratches the surface.

“Sixty-seven per cent of food bank clients are receiving social assistance of some kind. That means the ‘social safety net’ we supposedly have in this province has serious holes in it, and needs a transformation”, says Richard Matern, Acting Director of Research and author of the Who’s Hungry 2011: Profile of Hunger in the GTA report. The report was based on information from one-on-one interviews with food bank clients across the GTA.

According to this new report, the average monthly income for a food bank client in the GTA is $925, and 72 per cent of that goes just to cover rent and housing costs. “That leaves $5.67 a day for food, clothes medicine…it’s not even enough for a round trip on the TTC”, says Matern.

“Hunger is not about food, it’s about poverty”, said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread’s executive director. “While the fall is traditionally harvest time in Ontario, many people can’t afford to share in that harvest, which is why we’re reminding people of Toronto there are still far too many people in need and to donate generously during this year’s Fall Drive.” The Fall Drive starts today and runs until October 14th. Daily Bread is hoping to raise $400,000 and 400,000 pounds of food over the next few weeks.

The Fall Drive runs through to October 14th. Donations can be made securely online or by calling 416-203-0050. Cheques can be mailed to Daily Bread Food Bank at 191 New Toronto Street, Toronto ON M8V 2E7. Drop off nutritious, non-perishable food at any fire hall throughout the year or any local Loblaws, Loblaws Great Food, valu-mart, nofrills or Real Canadian Superstore as well as participating grocery stores. Most needed food items include: baby formula and food; peanut butter; canned fruit or
vegetables; canned fish or meat; dried pasta and tomato sauce; powdered, canned or tetra pak cartons of milk; macaroni and cheese; bags of rice; cans of lentils and beans; hearty soup or stew and bags of lentils.

As Canada’s largest food bank, Daily Bread Food Bank serves people through neighbourhood food banks and meal programs in almost 170 member agencies across Toronto. Find out more about Daily Bread at www.dailybread.ca.

The printing of the Who’s Hungry Report was generously supported by MacLaser Printing Inc.

For more information:
Sarah Anderson
(A) Director, Communications
T: 416-203-0050 ext. 238
E: sarah@dailybread.ca

Daily Bread Food Bank is fighting to end hunger in our communities.


Date Added: | Filed under: News — Jessica @ 4:36 pm



Who’s Hungry Report 2011

Every year, with the assistance of volunteers, Daily Bread Food Bank conducts a survey across the GTA of people who access food banks. The surveys were completed with the cooperation of Daily Bread member agencies and regional partners: The Mississauga Food Bank, North York Harvest Food Bank, York Region Food Network and Feed the Need in Durham.

View the full report

Key Findings

Even as the economy recovers, the number of visits to food banks remain at unacceptably high levels.
Overall number of client visits to all GTA food banks: 1,082,000
Percentage increase from pre-recession period in 2008: 14%
Number of client visits to food banks in Toronto: 908,000
Number of client visits to food banks in the 905 regions: 174,000
Number of client visits to Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies: 794,000

For most people, food bank use is a temporary measure to help manage difficult financial periods so they can still eat while trying to pay the rent. These periods can include sudden job loss or reduction in hours of work, a sudden injury or illness, or being new to the country and not being able to work.
Percentage of clients who have used a food bank for 6 months or less: 32%
Of the food bank clients who have been coming 6 months or less, the reasons for visits include:
Losing their jobs or reduced hours at work: 41%
Disability: 22%
New to area/country: 19%

People who come to food banks do so because they are going hungry due to lack of income. For nearly half of food bank clients, hunger means either not being able to eat balanced meals, or not eating for an entire day due to lack of money.
Median monthly household income: $925
Percentage of adults who go hungry at least one day per week: 40%
Percentage of children who go hungry at least one day per week: 19%
Percentage of adults who often could not afford to eat balanced meals: 43%
Percentage of adults who have not eaten for an entire day due to lack of money: 46%

The vast majority of food bank clients (67%) receive their income from one of Ontario’s social assistance programs, either Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program. These programs provide low levels of income, and are not indexed to inflation.
Percentage of clients receiving Ontario Works as their main source of income: 44%
Percentage of clients receiving Ontario Disability Support Program as their main source of income: 23%

The ongoing transition of the labour market from full-time to irregular work means having employment no longer guarantees income security. One quarter of food bank clients have someone in their household who is working. While the majority earns more than minimum wage, most are working part-time or casual jobs, and most do not have drug or dental benefits.
Percentage of clients with at least one person in the household who is employed: 25%
Percentage of clients listing employment as their main source of income: 12%
Median hourly wage: $11.60
Percentage of clients who are earning more than the $10.25 minimum wage per hour: 67%
Percentage not receiving drug or dental benefits: 79%

Unlike food, paying the rent every month is non-negotiable. The cost of housing is a key reason people go hungry and have to come to a food bank, regardless of any other circumstance. Even people in subsidized housing regularly go hungry due to lack of money for food.
Percentage of income spent on housing plus utilities: 72%
People who pay market rent: 70%
Average amount remaining per person per day after rent and utilities are paid: $5.67
Percentage of people living in subsidized housing who haven’t eaten for an entire day because of lack of money for food: 46%

In the last five years there have been emerging trends among people coming to food banks. There are more single person households, a larger percentage of people in the 45 to 64 age range, and more people with higher levels of education than there were five years ago.

2011 2006
Per cent of single person households: 45% 42%
Per cent of clients between ages of 45-64: 24% 20%
Per cent of respondents who have a university or post-graduate degree: 28% 21%

In order to reverse these trends, a transformation of Ontario’s income security system is needed. A key way to reduce hunger would be an appropriate benefit structure, which includes implementing an Ontario Housing Benefit. Paid outside the social assistance system, this type of benefit would be a way to help all people with low income.


Date Added: | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:35 pm



One is the loneliest number

This is the last post in a series of election blog posts where we highlight some of the problem areas in the current social assistance system as well as challenge politicians to consider some of the potential solutions that we will also outline.  Visits to food banks in the GTA remain well above pre-recession levels and we want to see poverty and hunger front and centre as an election issue. Poverty adversely affects far too many people in Ontario and there are solutions to help alleviate it.

An ongoing trend we have seen from our research is an increase in single persons who are coming to food banks, and are more likely to cycling on and off social assistance multiple times compared to other household groups. These singles are more likely to be male, and often have multiple barriers to employment such as having a disability. During difficult economic times, households with children have other forms of income such as child tax benefits that can carry them through until things improve, preventing many from having to apply for welfare. Single people in Ontario do not have such benefits available to them and are instead forced to apply for welfare which then often leads individuals to be trapped into a cycle of poverty aided by the very government system that is supposed to be helping them.

With fewer income supports get them through hard times, single individuals are more often going hungry due to lack of money and low social assistance rates. An Ontario Housing Benefit, paid outside the social assistance system, would be a much needed extra form of income support that would help during difficult times and reduce the need for social assistance. Employment supports, including help transitioning from welfare to work would also be a vital help to this group of individuals.


Date Added: September 19, 2011 | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:38 pm



Support Ontarians with disabilities

Over the next two weeks, Daily Bread will be releasing a series of election blog posts where we highlight some of the problem areas in the current social assistance system as well as challenge politicians to consider some of the potential solutions that we will also outline.  Visits to food banks in the GTA remain well above pre-recession levels and we want to see poverty and hunger front and centre as an election issue. Poverty adversely affects far too many people in Ontario and there are solutions to help alleviate it.

What would happen if you fell ill or became disabled and it meant you could no longer work? How would you support your children; how would you support yourself? Would you have enough money for medication if you no longer had a drug plan? Many of the people who come to a food bank are on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) which shows that this income support system in Ontario is not working.

Having a disability or serious illness is a trigger for many to fall into poverty. There needs to be better integration of federal and provincial disability income support programs, including the interaction between Canada Pension Plan Disability and Ontario Disability Support Program. Greater support is needed for many to access and navigate a complicated system in order to get the benefits from these programs.

For those who have a disability and can work, more comprehensive employment support programs need to be available to help them find and keep employment. For those for whom their disability does not allow them to work, serious consideration needs to be given to creating a long-term income support program that provides sufficient income.


Date Added: September 16, 2011 | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:39 pm



Help support people into jobs

Over the next two weeks, Daily Bread will be releasing a series of election blog posts where we highlight some of the problem areas in the current social assistance system as well as challenge politicians to consider some of the potential solutions that we will also outline.  Visits to food banks in the GTA remain well above pre-recession levels and we want to see poverty and hunger front and centre as an election issue. Poverty adversely affects far too many people in Ontario and there are solutions to help alleviate it.

People often lose benefits when they transition from welfare to work. This loss of benefits or support when moving from welfare to work is a large barrier for many to become financially independent and leave welfare during an often financially precarious transitional period.

Currently, there is no shelter allowance available for the working poor in Ontario. Having a Housing Benefit paid to all low income people would help enable people to more easily move from welfare to work, as people would not lose their Housing Benefit until they earned sufficient income to support themselves.

There also needs to be employment programs that are individualised, flexible, and take into account the various barriers people face when trying to re-enter the workforce. Otherwise, people will continue to cycle on and off social assistance.


Date Added: September 15, 2011 | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:40 pm



Support new Canadians in the labour market, support children

Over the next two weeks, Daily Bread will be releasing a series of election blog posts where we highlight some of the problem areas in the current social assistance system as well as challenge politicians to consider some of the potential solutions that we will also outline.  Visits to food banks in the GTA remain well above pre-recession levels and we want to see poverty and hunger front and centre as an election issue. Poverty adversely affects far too many people in Ontario and there are solutions to help alleviate it.

In the GTA, 36% of all food bank clients are children. Ironically, many of their parents have at minimum a university degree. Why does this happen? It is because people needing food banks who have graduated university are more likely to be new Canadians. New Canadians who need food banks are also more likely to have  families with children.

New Canadians bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new country. Households who are new to the country and need the support of a food bank means that there is an ongoing issue of people whose foreign credentials and experience are not being recognized. This lack of recognition, as well as a lack of networks in their new country, affects their ability to quickly find work.

It is clear much more work has to be done to address the barriers that new Canadians face in the employment sector. The increasing trend of those with higher levels of education coming to food banks means that we need more and varied employment supports other than resume writing or job searching, particularly for highly educated and skilled new Canadians.


Date Added: September 13, 2011 | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:41 pm



Vote Housing

Over the next two weeks, Daily Bread will be releasing a series of election blog posts where we highlight some of the problem areas in the current social assistance system as well as challenge politicians to consider some of the potential solutions that we will also outline.  Visits to food banks in the GTA remain well above pre-recession levels and we want to see poverty and hunger front and centre as an election issue. Poverty adversely affects far too many people in Ontario and there are solutions to help alleviate it. Below is the second post in this series.

Last year, food bank clients spent an average of 72 per cent of their income on housing costs. Spending 50 per cent or more puts a family at serious risk of homelessness. In order to help address the 72 per cent of income that food bank clients pay in rent and utilities, we are asking all political parties to endorse an Ontario Housing Benefit and implement if elected. We see the Housing Benefit as part of a broader based solution to addressing housing related poverty, in addition to building, maintaining and rehabilitating existing affordable housing. A Housing Benefit would also be another crucial step in restructuring our income security system in Ontario and more proof of a government committed to helping all Ontarians.

You cannot adequately function in society without a roof over your head. Year after year, in interviews with food bank clients during our annual survey, we’ve found that the majority of income is going towards rents and utilities (housing costs).

To make matters worse, the type of housing that individuals can afford at this income level are often poorly kept and unsafe. For singles on social assistance, the housing options are limited to rooming houses or other environments where safety and health can be compromised. Waiting  lists for affordable housing are often many years long. As a result, many people who need the help don’t even bother applying to yet another broken system that hinders rather than helps.


Date Added: September 8, 2011 | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:41 pm



An open challenge to all provincial candidates

Over the next two weeks, Daily Bread will be releasing a series of election blog posts where we will highlight some of the problem areas in the current social assistance system as well as challenge politicians to consider some of the potential solutions that we will also outline.  Visits to food banks in the GTA remain well above pre-recession levels and we want to see poverty and hunger front and centre as an election issue. Poverty adversely affects far too many people in Ontario and there are solutions to help alleviate it.

While we work to provide food to people struggling with hunger, we are keenly aware that food programs are only treating a symptom. To address the underlying issues that contribute to poverty and hunger we need to take a broad approach that includes policy change. Our approach to policy change comes from fact-based research that tries to bridge the divide between people with lived experience of poverty and policy makers. Our work in this area tells us that a major transformation of our income security system is needed. We are looking for a new system that puts more money back into people’s pockets so that they can afford, at the very least, both food and housing. We look for, and support, any benefit that structurally reforms social assistance. Just raising welfare rates doesn’t answer what is going wrong in the system in the first place. We need a new system that supports individuals, where ever they are in life, to be as self-sufficient and financially independent as possible.

We continue to challenge all political parties to make the issue of poverty an important one in this election. What we at Daily Bread Food Bank are looking for is a government that understands that as a community we are only strong if everyone is given the opportunity to reach their full potential. It’s time to focus on the individuals and families across this province who have been slipping through the cracks of a broken system for far too long.

There is no single, simple solution to poverty because poverty is a complex situation. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any solutions. We need a government that is listening, looking for and implementing innovative solutions that will work to help lift people out of poverty – solutions such as the Ontario Housing Benefit.

We hope that you, as voters, take the time during this election to educate yourself on the issues and the candidates running for election in your riding. Decide what’s important to you and most importantly, find out what your candidate thinks is important as well. You have a choice, a vote and a voice. Use all three and make yours count on October 6.


Date Added: September 6, 2011 | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:42 pm