Since the start of COVID-19, visits to food banks across the City of Toronto have increased by close to 25%. Prior to the pandemic there were an average of about 15,000 visits to Daily Bread member food banks per week, and now that average has climbed to close to 20,000.
The downtown east area of Toronto in particular, has seen a significant increase in the number of people accessing food banks.
One of our Members, Yonge Street Mission, has seen a majority of this increase and are struggling to maintain service that has seen a surge in monthly visits from 2,000 to 8,000 per month.
Daily Bread Food Bank is currently working with our food bank Members in the area to look at how dividing service around household size can even out the demand amongst our Members in the area.
One of the discussions happening is – would it make sense for Allan Gardens Food Bank which serves mostly single people, to take on this cohort from Yonge Street Mission? This would allow Yonge Street Mission to focus on serving families with children and reduce some of their case load.
This solution might provide a greater balance in client visits, and allows both locations to be able to maintain their operations and effectively serve their communities.
Along with advocating for the recommendations put forward in the Hunger Lives Here report, we are currently investigating this trend further to develop policy recommendations for how the City and Province can address the root causes driving this increase.
This collaborative approach in solving community needs has been critical during this time and demonstrates the leadership and adaptability of our Member agencies.
We are proud to be working with such a passionate and committed network of individuals working to end hunger in our city.
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