According to Daily Bread Food Bank’s 2021 Who’s Hungry report, 51% of food bank clients reported missing a meal to pay for something else. As the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis continue to ripple through our city, food bank visits are in a steady climb. In fact, between the months of October to December 2021, Daily Bread member food banks saw a 77% increase in client visits compared to the same period pre-pandemic.
Jorge is one of the tens of thousands of Torontonians faced with the mounting challenges and pressures posed by COVID-19 and the growing need for food access. He currently visits his local food bank once a week to pick up groceries and staples to help meet his vegan dietary needs. Throughout the past two years, Jorge has seen the increase in clients at his local food bank, but he is still able to pick up hearty essentials like canned chickpeas and fresh vegetables to help him through the week. “When I get a lot of carrots, I make something like a stew with chickpeas or lentils,” he says. “If I get some squash, I will make some stuffed veggies.”
Jorge also mentions the challenges he faces financially as he tries to stretch government supports, like ODSP. In addition to paying for essentials such as housing and transportation, he now also has to allocate money to buying face masks, gloves and sanitizer to protect himself from COVID-19. As a single individual, he sympathizes with families living in poverty who have to provide for children and protect them from the virus.
“I didn’t know food banks existed until I Googled it because I was having a hard time with money. I didn’t expect that food banks could help you in such a great way – with good food. Food banks are helping a lot of people, in a lot of ways.”
Despite the challenges, Jorge forges on and is thankful for the additional support he is able to receive from the food bank. With a love of healthy, simple cooking, Jorge plans to return to school in the near future to study nutrition. He hopes to one day open a wellness shop or bakery where he can serve hearty plant-based dishes, patisseries and other sweet treats.
With a median income of $1,106 per month – which falls well below Toronto’s poverty line of $2,060 per month – food bank clients have $9.17 left per person per day after rent and utilities to pay for food and other necessities. This is simply not enough to make ends meet. It is through the generosity of supporters like you that Jorge and thousands of individuals facing similar challenges, can access the food they need – THANK YOU!
To make a donation and support Daily Bread’s critical food programs, please visit www.dailybread.ca to give today.