The number of new clients using Toronto’s food banks has tripled during the pandemic, according to a report that shows worsening food insecurity and hunger in the city.
The report, released today by Daily Bread Food Bank, reveals an estimated 6,100 new clients began using the organization’s member food banks in June, compared with roughly 2,000 new clients in February. About 20,000 people now use food banks each week, up from 15,000 in 2019.
The report found an increasing number of people in the city do not have enough to eat because they do not have enough money for food, and that child hunger is on the rise. The findings echo a Statistics Canada report released last month, which found one in seven Canadians reported experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic in May. That meant they lacked access to adequate food, including not being able to afford balanced meals and, at the most extreme, going hungry. Canadians living in households with children were most affected, with 19 per cent reporting food insecurity.
Neil Hetherington, chief executive officer of Daily Bread Food Bank, anticipated the situation may become more dire in the next two to four months.
Prior to the pandemic, many in Toronto were living paycheque to paycheque, and were close to being unable to pay their rent, Mr. Hetherington said. Now, owing to lost jobs and reduced working hours during the COVID-19 crisis, “we have this tsunami of evictions that is just months away.”
Moreover, he added: “We believe that the road to recovery for people who are making use of food banks is going to be a multiyear recovery.”
The report is based on food bank data and the results of a phone survey of more than 220 food bank clients, conducted in May and June.
To read the full Globe and Mail article click here.
Click here to read the comprehensive report, Hunger Lives Here: Risks and Challenges Faced by Food Bank Clients During COVID-19