We recently sounded the alarm that Toronto food banks saw nearly 270,000 client visits in March, an astonishing number that’s about four times pre-pandemic averages. With figures this large, it’s easy to forget that each of those visits has a face, a name and a story.
One is Gordon’s. For years, this 63-year-old has lived with a disability that has made it almost impossible for him to find and keep a job. Sadly, he and his wife have needed to rely on the limited income they receive from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), which doesn’t provide enough to pay for both rent and other essentials, like healthy food. “Every day I wish that I could provide for our family, but I can’t, and the money we get from ODSP is not enough to get by without support,” he shared.
Life for Gordon and his wife was bleak. They would go hungry several times per week, and Gordon sometimes had to compromise on his medication in order to afford food. “Because of the food bank, I don’t need to worry about going hungry or having to choose between food and my medications. My wife and I have a much happier life.”
Gordon’s story is devastating, but what’s worse is that he is not alone. “There are so many more people at the food bank than there used to be because everything has gotten so much more expensive!”
As the cost of living continues to rise, more and more people are having to rely on food banks for their next meal. In March, the number of new clients registering to use food bank services for the first time exceeded 12,000; that’s about six times pre-pandemic numbers. This level of growth is unprecedented—and not likely to slow down anytime soon.
You can help play a vital role in ensuring families like Gordon’s don’t go hungry by donating today.