Toronto’s Food Bank Dependence Reaches Critical: Report


For the first time, new customers outnumber existing customers

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The holiday season of goodwill may be intensifying, but so too is the food crisis in Canada, with more people relying on food banks while struggling to deal with the aftermath of the pandemic.


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Every sector of the country has been affected, and the latest food insecurity figures Toronto struggles with are the most devastating, with one in three food bank customers reporting that they go all day without eating. This according to a recent annual report from the Daily Bread Food Bank of Toronto, which saw an unprecedented increase in the number of visits that left the nonprofit in shock.

The report, entitled Of which hungry , in partnership with North York Harvest Food Bank, reveals a staggering 1.45 million food bank visits in the past year – the highest number in the organization’s history, and an increase of 47% compared to the previous year.

Profiling the state of hunger in the city, the report also found that, for the first time, new customers outnumber existing customers looking to put food on the table – a 61% increase from compared to the previous year.


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Organizers stressed that there are now many living in a state of crisis even as pandemic restrictions ease and the economy reopens.

“This is the highest number of food bank visits since we’ve kept records dating back to 1995,” said Talia Bronstein, vice president of research and advocacy for the Daily Bread Food Bank. “There are a number of factors at play, including the economic pressures induced by the pandemic, unemployment and underemployment.

“Add to that the combination of a lack of affordable housing and insufficient income support, all contributing to an unstable foundation. When the shock of the pandemic hit, we really didn’t have the resilience (to deal with it) in place. “

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That said, Bronstein notes that the current situation “could have been avoided”, starting with a call for the government to “help build resilience.” We need an income support system in place and affordable housing.


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Bronstein says anyone can help turn this ship right by “supporting the immediate need by donating and volunteering.” The most needed foods are foods high in protein like canned tuna, beans, and pasta sauce.

“But equally, if not more important, is that we need to advocate for change, with a strong voice from the people to hold the government accountable. “

A critical factor in the report, she notes, is that after rent and utilities, “a person basically has $ 9.17 to cover everything else, including food and transportation.”

Visit to read the full Who’s Hungry 2021 report.

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