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Because hunger doesn't wait for policy change.





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 | Comments Off on Support new Canadians in the labour market, support children | 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 | Comments Off on Vote Housing | 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 | Comments Off on An open challenge to all provincial candidates | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:42 pm

Food banks aren’t the problem, poverty is

In response to a commentary published in the Globe and Mail on July 25th about closing Canada’s food banks, Daily Bread’s executive director and chair of the Board of Directors sent the following reply to the paper. Today, a portion of that letter was published in the Letters to the Editor. You can find the full text of our response below and the original commentary by Elaine Power here:  ‘It’s time to close Canada’s food banks’.

Elaine Power has far more in common with food banks that she probably realizes. We’re actually fighting the same fight, looking for solutions to the same problems and educating people about the complex issues around poverty in Canada. Yet the idea that a non-profit by its very existence must be covering up the problem that it seeks to solve is ridiculous. It would be similar to saying that Evergreen Youth Centre hides homelessness or Casey House is hiding HIV. In any event, it is hardly a battle one would want to have on the backs of those who are living in poverty and going hungry. As much as we continue to push for solutions to poverty, we don’t have the luxury that Power has in saying we shouldn’t exist. Even close to three years after the recession, we still have over a million visits to food banks across the GTA. They cannot be fed by ideology and hyperbole.

Food banks aren’t hiding the poor from any one. We’re not here to make people feel warm and fuzzy about giving – to say something so glib shows a lack of respect for the intelligence and compassion of thousands of people who volunteer at food banks and community agencies across Canada.  Yes, studies show doing good makes you feel good – but the volunteer program at Daily Bread is also an educational one. We’re here to show you not just that there is a problem, but that it is far more complex than just hunger because we see firsthand the extent of it.

Daily Bread’s mission has always been two-fold: we’re here to fight hunger by providing emergency food assistance when needed and we’re also here to fight hunger by educating people about the issues and advocating for solutions. Ontario has made some steps in the right direction towards alleviating child poverty through the Ontario Child Benefit — Daily Bread Food Bank was instrumental in making that a reality.

Food banks are often more than just providers of food. For many, providing emergency food services is a small part of a larger reality that if you are coming to a food bank for food there are other issues at hand such as housing, employment, domestic abuse or health issues. Daily Bread has an entire department dedicated to advocacy services. Many food banks do. To simplify and stereotype food banks as simply procurers and distributors of donations shows how very little Elaine Power actually knows about food banks, though she professes to have intimate knowledge of them. Her comments are also at odds with a 2005 position paper on food insecurity in Canada that she authored for Dietitians of Canada where she referenced another’s work by saying that: “…Canadian food banks, particularly Daily Bread in Toronto and the national association, CAFB [now Food Banks Canada], have remained politicized; they are tireless advocates for eliminating hunger through improved social security programs.”

Daily Bread provides food to The Stop Community Food Centre’s food bank and meal programs, but many of our other member agencies across Toronto, as well as Daily Bread, also run innovative programs supporting and empowering people on low incomes and work to keep the conversation about poverty at the forefront of people’s minds. Food banks, community food centres, meal programs, drop-in programs and community agencies are doing more than just providing food.


That’s because we know simply providing food will never solve hunger. We also know that food banks cannot solve hunger — alone. Power’s rant discounts the incredible amount of work agencies on the ground are doing to provide support and find solutions. To Elaine Power we’d like to remind her that her fight is our fight; not to end support for people who are struggling, but to empower, educate and defeat hunger at its root causes. If academics, policy makers and anti-poverty advocates can’t work together for a common purpose, how can we ever expect anyone to listen to any of us, let alone act on what we have to say?


Eric Meerkamper, Chair, Board of Directors, Daily Bread Food Bank

Gail Nyberg, Executive Director, Daily Bread Food Bank

Date Added: July 25, 2011 | Comments Off on Food banks aren’t the problem, poverty is | Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — Jessica @ 4:44 pm

Parkdale Community Food Bank

Many of you have heard talk in the news of the financial threat Parkdale Community Food Bank is under as they continue their winter fundraising campaign in to the summer months.

Daily Bread Food Bank delivers food to both Parkdale’s onsite food bank, which distributed to an average of 2292 client visits over the past four months, and its meal programs. In June, Daily Bread delivered over 24,000 pounds of food and continues to be committed to providing enough food to feed those who need it in the Parkdale community through the various meal programs and community food banks that currently operate in the area.

We want to assure the Parkdale community that Daily Bread is dedicated to ensuring that the food we deliver is distributed to those who need it. Although we are optimistic that the Parkdale Community Food Bank will be able to raise the funds needed to pay their administration and rental costs to remain operating as a community agency, should that not be the case we will do all we can to ensure there is no interruption of service to people currently accessing food bank services.

Two years ago when the Roncesvalles Food Bank in Parkdale had to close, we worked hard  to find an alternative solution which is how the Sorauren Food Bank opened its doors in Parkdale as a Daily Bread member agency run by the Red Cross. In other instances where food banks have shut down in Toronto, we have done the same thing which also includes asking other member agencies close by to accommodate the extra client visits and food deliveries.

Summertime has always been a tough time for Daily Bread Food Bank and its member agencies. Daily Bread ensures that all food donations are distributed equitably among its 170 member agencies according to need. However; when Daily Bread struggles, all of our member agencies who rely on our food struggle too.  It has not been an easy summer for them, or us. In addition to corporate donations from food industry, we also rely heavily on support and donations from the public. In May, we received just over 64,000 lbs from the public. Last month, we were down to 34,000 lbs of food donated by the public. While food industry donations and purchased food have allowed us to make up some of that shortfall, food banks across the city need your help and support. Please don’t forget that people struggle with hunger throughout the year. You can drop off a donation of non-perishable food to any local fire hall in the city or make a financial donation online at to go towards the purchase of food for member agencies like the Parkdale Community Food Bank.

Date Added: July 19, 2011 | Comments Off on Parkdale Community Food Bank | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:46 pm

Jack Astor’s Bartending Competition a Huge Success!










Thank you to over 10 Jack Astor’s locations from the GTA down to London who raised nearly $23,000 through their bartending competitions to help fight hunger!

Date Added: July 16, 2011 | Comments Off on Jack Astor’s Bartending Competition a Huge Success! | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:47 pm

Filing Income Taxes and Accessing Food Banks

View/print PDF version of this report.

Are Ontarians with low-income getting the benefits they are entitled to?
2011 Research Paper by Daily Bread Food Bank

As the government of Ontario commits to review its social assistance programs, there is an increasing push to look at an income security system that pays more benefits outside of social assistance. Such a system would help improve circumstances for all low income families, and help prevent people from falling into the poverty trap. This system would, at least in part, be delivered through the income tax system.

Presently, there are already new provincial tax credits which could provide people with payments even when there is no taxable income. This includes people who are receiving social assistance. These credits are not only available to households with children, but also to single person households.

The likelihood of people getting money that they are entitled to is dependent on them filing their tax returns. Using results from the 2006 Who’s Hungry Survey of people accessing food banks, we explore the extent to which people experiencing poverty file their income taxes. We also see who might be missing out on possible benefits, both now and in the future.


Date Added: May 6, 2011 | Comments Off on Filing Income Taxes and Accessing Food Banks | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 4:54 pm

Chef’s Challenge

Chef Bruce Woods and Chef Tom Brodi

On Friday April 8th, Loblaw’s held a cooking competition to help kick off the start to their own Spring Drive in support of food banks across the country. Chef Tom Brodi (Executive Chef of TOCA) and Chef Bruce Woods (Head Chef at Brassaii Restaurant) competed against each other with only 30 minutes to cook a meal. While they had many ingredients to choose from, the twist was a secret box of ingredients that they needed to try and incorporate into their dishes to create a fabulous-tasting meal. Those secret ingredients included some items from our most needed food items list such as canned vegetables (corn), canned beans and rice.

The dishes were then judged by Jennifer Bain, a food editor with the Toronto Star; Lindsey Deluce, anchor with CP24; Inside Toronto’s Justin Skinner and Daily Bread’s executive director Gail Nyberg. After a tense few minutes of tasting, the judges filled out their scorecards and the scores for each chef were added up. It was a close race, but in the end Chef Tom Brodi won with salmon fish cakes and a corn-tomato dressing. Chef Woods created a potato rosti salmon pizza with parsley pesto.

People wishing to support Daily Bread Food Bank can donate to any number of stores including Loblaws, Loblaw Great Food, valu-mart, No Frills or Real Canadian Superstore in Toronto until April 28th. Most needed food items include canned fruits and vegetables, canned soups and hearty stews, dried pasta and tomato sauce, peanut butter, rice, canned fish as well as baby formula and baby food. You can also donate cash at the register – 70 per cent of that donation will go to Daily Bread Food Bank, while 30 per cent goes to the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

Check out more pictures of the event on our Facebook page.

Date Added: April 13, 2011 | Comments Off on Chef’s Challenge | Filed under: Blog — Jessica @ 5:03 pm

Break poverty; break hunger.

“It is common for families who receive income on a regular basis but who typically cannot “make ends meet” to describe their food restrictions as cyclic, with food shortages most acute at the end of the month when household resources are exhausted.” – Low-Income Women’s Dietary Intakes are Sensitive to the Depletion of Household Resources in One Month

What is the real cost of hunger?

The average person coming to a food bank has very little income, and what little income they do have is primarily spent on rent and utilities (68% of it) at the beginning of the month. Daily Bread Food Bank provides food to approximately 70 food banks and as anyone who volunteers or works at a food bank will tell you, end of month is the busiest because by that time what little income an individual has is all but gone.

There is a growing body of research that is beginning to explore what kind of impact or relationship ‘feast and famine’ cyclical eating habits has on obesity and resulting health complications such as diabetes. What is only beginning to be explored is how that type of cyclical calorie intake has on the health of low-income individuals, who are most at the mercy of this type of eating pattern due to a lack of income and therefore a steady supply of nutritious food.

As this map from the Toronto Star shows, those who live in low-income areas also seem to suffer from a higher rate of diabetes. The long-term impact of hunger on low-income communities can be seen in those correlating rates of diabetes. Those types of chronic health issues, and the resulting complications from a disease like diabetes as the affected population ages, has the potential to become an expensive burden on the health care system. The cost of health care in Ontario is already expected to rise by 6 per cent this year – if that trend continues, how much more will we be paying for health care 10 years from now? How much is it costing those affected by hunger right now? When we discuss the issue of ‘hunger’ and how it is affecting people, we also need to think about some of these larger issues and what hunger is really costing us. Addressing the social determinants of health can reduce health costs over the long run for the individual and the community and is an issue that needs to be considered when discussing the cost of hunger.

Date Added: March 25, 2011 | Comments Off on Break poverty; break hunger. | Filed under: Blog,Research — Jessica @ 5:07 pm

CBC Sounds of the Season

CBC Sounds of the Season has raised over $200,000 for local food banks across the GTA. You can still donate online at […]

Date Added: December 22, 2010 | Comments Off on CBC Sounds of the Season | Filed under: Blog,News — Jessica @ 2:55 pm

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