Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank have released the annual Who’s Hungry report, which focuses this year on building a future without poverty beyond COVID-19.
The report reveals that prior to COVID-19, food bank use had already increased by 5% compared to the previous year, with close to one million visits in the city of Toronto—the same level as the peak following the 2008-09 financial crisis.
With the arrival of COVID-19, food bank visits continued to climb significantly, increasing by 22% in June and a staggering 51% in August compared to the previous year. It is expected that this year will have the highest number of food bank visits ever recorded in Toronto.
While COVID-19 has worsened food insecurity, our research highlights the systemic inequities that keep food bank clients marginalized despite their best efforts. Emergency responses, including food banks and drop-in meals, do not solve food insecurity: 85% of survey respondents reported that they did not always have enough food to eat even after food bank use. As a result, 43% went hungry at least once a week.
Survey respondents talked about how insufficient income, precarious employment, and unaffordable housing are the primary barriers to achieving their right to food:
COVID-19 has placed us at a crossroads. To meet this opportunity for systemic change, Daily Bread and North York Harvest recommend the following immediate actions be taken:
It is time to listen to the food bank client voices who have long been calling for a more just and fair society.
Please join us for a webinar on November 26 at 7 PM for a discussion on how we can achieve a future without poverty. Click here to register.
To read the full report, click here.