Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank raised 30,459 pounds of food as part of its Thanksgiving campaign on Saturday, exceeding its target for the day, and its CEO said Torontonians were responding to the call for help.
But Neil Hetherington says demand is high in the city and is getting bigger and bigger. The number of food insecure people has skyrocketed in Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes doubling. He said needs increase as the cost of food rises, inflation rises and incomes stagnate.
On Saturday, however, Toronto answered the food bank’s call for a pandemic.
“I was delighted that we achieved the goal we set for ourselves. Hundreds of families came and dropped off food,” Hetherington said on Sunday.
“My general feeling is that it’s a wonderful outward expression Torontonians have that too many people are food insecure, and this Thanksgiving they want to do something about it.”
For five hours, residents lined up in their vehicles to drop off non-perishable food at the Etobicoke Food Bank’s distribution center at 191 New Street Toronto. Volunteers unloaded donations into boxes and boxes directly from vehicles. The goal was 30,000 pounds of food.
Hetherington said people responded to the food bank’s request to drop off high-protein items, including tuna, beans and peanut butter.
The food bank distributes 60,000 pounds of food in Toronto every day.
Hetherington said the Daily Bread Food Bank continues to see an increase in the number of customer visits. About 60,000 people were going to the food group each month before the pandemic. That number peaked at 124,500 customer visits in June, he said.
The year before this pandemic swept through Toronto, there were nearly a million visits to the city’s food banks. At the current rate, food bank visits are expected to reach 1.4 million by the end of this year, a number that would be the highest in city history.
“We are seeing the number continually increasing,” Hetherington said. “With the end of the moratoriums on evictions, with the end of the CRB, I am concerned about what will happen with the number of people who have to turn to food banks. “
The Canada Restoration Benefit (CRP) is expected to end this month and the moratorium on residential evictions in Ontario ended on June 2, 2021. October 23 is the deadline to apply for the last two-week payment of the PRC.
The food bank hopes to raise 284,000 pounds of food from the community through its Thanksgiving campaign by October 31. Donations are accepted at fire stations. In addition to donations from the community, the food bank buys food and collects food from the farms.
New faces have appeared at the food bank during the pandemic
The food bank has seen many new faces during the COVID-19 pandemic, he added. These are individuals, post-secondary students and families.
According to the Food Bank, customers earn a median income of $ 892 per month, less than half of the monthly income required to have a basic standard of living. It says that one in five people in Toronto is food insecure and that almost one in three food bank visits are made up of children and youth.
Hetherington said people who come to the food bank include people who may have lost their jobs or who are unable to make ends meet due to the insecurity of their jobs. Fifty percent of food bank users have a post-secondary education. The difference between those who receive and those who give is income, he added.
“People who give are individuals who fundamentally believe that the right to food should be in place for every person,” he said.
Hetherington is asking for three things to improve food insecurity in Toronto: affordable housing needs to be built; governments need to talk about providing a basic income; and people need to push for decent pathways to employment.
Canada has more than 61,000 food charities, report says
A new report from Second Harvest, titled Canada’s Invisible Food Network, found that there were over 61,000 non-governmental organizations providing free or low-cost food to those in need in 2019. By comparison, there are had 15,344 grocery stores in Canada. in 2019.
In Ontario, there were 21,502 food charities in 2019, compared to 5,368 grocery stores. According to Second Harvest, the organizations provided food to approximately 1,878,225 people.
Value Chain Management International, a research firm, performed the research.
Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest, said the national number of charitable food organizations was shocking. Second Harvest describes itself as the largest food rescue organization in Canada and an expert in perishable food salvage. The food she collects is redirected to charities and nonprofits, ensuring people have access to the healthy food they need.
“There are so many places, charities, nonprofits, that support people with low cost or free food and they just aren’t known. They don’t belong to any major network. They’re smaller, run by volunteers, but they’re all across the country, ”she said.
“And the reason we did this research was to really figure out, where are they, so that we could map them out and make sure we could provide them with as much food as possible. For us, we knew there was had a lot of charities and non-profit organizations doing this work, but we were shocked that there were over 61,000 of them. “
Nikkel said there were so many food charities because there were a lot of “great Canadians” who wanted to help – “they see a void and fill it” – but they also exist because Canada has so many. many societal issues.
“The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. We have a lot of unemployment and underemployment. We have an income problem, a housing problem, an affordable child care problem,” she said. declared.
“At the end of the day, people should be able to get their food from their grocery store because they have enough money in their pocket, wallet or purse to go and buy the food they need for themselves. and their families. “