This holiday season, The Slaight Family Foundation is targeting the monumental issue of food insecurity and access to nutritious foods by gifting $7.5 million to six organizations who will leverage the power of their networks to ensure the funds are distributed to areas of need.
Food insecurity is a barometer for how people are faring — a symptom of deeper poverty. According to PROOF, 5.8 million Canadians, including 1.4 million children, experience food insecurity. In Toronto, the recently released Who’s Hungry 2022 report by Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank recorded 1.99 million visits to food banks, with demand projected to surpass two million for visits by the end of 2022.
“Inflation, COVID, drastically increased need, decreased government funding, and burnout have created the perfect storm, leaving charities depleted in its dust. For organizations like ours, The Stop Community Food Centre, there is little to no relief in sight,” says Maria Rio, Director of Development and Communication at The Stop Community Food Centre.
Longstanding systemic factors are exacerbated by precarious employment, high inflation and the skyrocketing price of food. After rent and utilities are paid, food bank clients have on average $8.01 left per person, per day, to pay for food and all other necessities (Daily Bread Food Bank/North Harvest Food Bank).
“I walk around with a knapsack of rocks strapped to my back, that’s what it feels like to worry about whether I can feed my kids tonight. I ache from the heaviness,” said a mother of three and Agincourt Community Services Food Centre visitor. “I’m grateful for the Food Centre and the support my family receives; the kindness from this community means more than I have words … Knowing I don’t have to worry about putting food on the table for my kids gives me a little more energy to keep looking for work and helping my kids with their homework.”
The generous $7.5 million gift will be shared among Greater Toronto area organizations — Daily Bread Food Bank and United Way Greater Toronto — and national reaching organizations — Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, Breakfast Club of Canada and Food Banks Canada. To target food insecurity, the six organizations will band together to distribute purchased and rescued food to hundreds of food-focused community agencies to meet the rising needs of communities through December and the new year.
“The demand on food banks is at record-high levels, and The Slaight Family Foundation understands that it will take collaboration and coordination to address food insecurity in our communities,” says Gary Slaight, President and CEO of The Slaight Family Foundation. “We hope our gift to provide nourishing foods this holiday season and beyond, can help to alleviate the incredible stress so many individuals and families are under right now in this crisis of deepening poverty.”
Click here for the Press Release.