Looking into the issue of food insecurity in Canada and around the world, what becomes clear is that the sole solution is not simply to provide food immediately; in order to truly tackle food insecurity, it is necessary to combat poverty and the social policies in place which contribute to it. For example, a large contributing factor to food insecurity is the rising cost of housing, rent prices, etc. In fact, multiple Hunger Reports from 2020 found that most food bank users (86%) were renters or in social housing, and were often put in a position to choose between paying their rent and buying food. As such, it becomes clear that the major issue associated with hunger in the GTA is insufficient funds to cover necessities in a given month.
In support of this, Daily Bread Bank found the majority of food bank users were on social assistance (65.7%), and as inflation has continued its upward trend, the money given through social assistance programs has not been increased to take this into account. Even with the emergency response benefit enacted by the government, 20% of foodbanks still saw an increase in use; Feed Ontario attributes this to insufficient funds once more, and this is because the benefit, designed to be $2000 per month, adds up to simply $12 an hour for a 40 hour work week each month, where the minimum wage is typically $14. For those who are accustomed to making more in a month, it is still difficult to stretch $2000 to cover a month’s worth of expenses. Many food banks also reported a surge in first time bank users for this very reason, as jobs were lost, hours were cut, and the emergency response was not sufficient to cover the losses.
Food banks, like us at the JRCC Kosher Food Bank, are focused on providing immediate support to those dealing with food insecurity, and are dedicated to helping in any way we can. If you are experiencing food insecurity, contact us at 416-222-7105 x293 and we will provide you with Kosher food.