Daily Bread Food Bank, in partnership with North York Harvest Food Bank and The Mississauga Food Bank, have released the annual Who’s Hungry report, profiling hunger in the Toronto region.
This year’s report reveals that there have been over 1 million food bank visits in the Toronto region alone in the past year. Food bank visits are growing at twice the rate of the population.
More than half of the food bank clients who participated in our annual survey had skipped a meal to pay for a bill and 25% reported that their children go hungry at least once a month.
In the Toronto region, stagnant wages coupled with the rising cost of living are leaving families struggling to make ends meet. Since last year, the median monthly income for food bank clients has remained at $806, yet the cost of a one-bedroom apartment has increased by 6% and the cost of food has increased by 7.5% in Toronto.
A household is considered at high risk for homelessness when paying 50% or more of their income towards housing. Food bank clients reported spending a median of 74% of their income on housing, up from 68% last year. After paying rent and utilities, food bank clients have only $7.83 left per person, per day to afford food and all of life’s necessities. This amount has decreased by 10% compared to last year.
Canada has signed on to a number of international agreements committing to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to food, yet 1 in 7 people in Toronto remain food insecure.
“The fact that individuals have to choose between paying rent and feeding their child, is simply unacceptable,” says Neil Hetherington, CEO, Daily Bread Food Bank. “Food is basic human right, and our governments have a legal obligation to create an environment in which people have the physical and economic means to access adequate food.”
Who’s Hungry 2019 calls upon all levels of government to take immediate action to uphold the right to food by:
- Strengthening social assistance
- Supporting low income households by expanding tax benefits and creating pathways out of poverty
- Investing in affordable housing and tenant protections
- Enhancing access to affordable childcare
- Committing to ensuring access to affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate food in each and every community.
- Adopting a human rights-based approach to decision making to ensure policies promote equity
Click here to read the full report.