Elena’s Story: Surviving on ODSP - Daily Bread Food Bank
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Elena's Story: Surviving on ODSP 

October 18, 2022

Imagine having a successful, well-paying career that provides you with a comfortable lifestyle – your rent is always covered and the increasing cost of groceries may pinch, but you never worry about where your next meal will come from. Suddenly, your compounding medical issues, once manageable, worsen, leaving you with little mobility and unable to work. Your income is now zero. 

Elena, like many of Daily Bread Food Bank clients, found herself in that very situation when complications related to her health forced her to shut down her sales agency. Today, Elena survives on the limited income she receives through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The maximum payment for an individual on ODSP is a meager $1,228 per month or $14,736 annually.

“I don’t know how I would survive without the food bank, especially with the rising cost of groceries.” says Elena. “I need to eat heathy because of my health issues and produce in the grocery stores is getting so expensive. At the food bank, I can get all my fruit and vegetables and even some protein like meat and lentils – they have a good selection.” 

Elena admits this is not the first time her poor health has prevented her from working. “When I was younger, I worked in a factory and had to leave that job because of severe back pain.” It was at that time Elena discovered she was pregnant with her first daughter. “As a single mom, unable to work, I wish I had known about food banks and the amazing support they offer. I had to buy formula on credit just to make sure my baby had enough to eat. Had I known there were food banks, I wouldn’t have had to do that,” she says.  

In telling her story, Elena had a special message she asked that we share with food bank volunteers, donors and staff:

“I see more and more people using the food bank every time I go. The volunteers and staff are working so hard to keep up. I know it is tiring, but I want to remind everyone what a difference they are making in people’s lives…people who are struggling to have food in their cupboards. Thank you.” 

As food bank use climbs, so does our need for donations (both monetary and dry goods) and volunteers. Donate today or sign-up to volunteer to help neighbours like Elena, and thousands of others struggling with food insecurity, access the food they need.

Thank you for your support.  

Photo courtesy of Toronto Sun


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