MORRISBURG – Feed Ontario is this province’s largest collective of hunger relief organizations and last week representatives from that organization were in Morrisburg to discuss the findings of the 2022 Feed Ontario Hunger Report.
What the report showed was, not unexpectedly, a bleak picture for those facing food insecurity in this province as food bank use is at an all time high, after six consecutive years of food bank use increases.
The Hunger Report is the only comprehensive, province-wide report on hunger and food bank use in Ontario.
The report, fully based on evidence and data, not only outlines the numbers but explores poverty trends and the factors driving the continued need for food banks in the province.
Presented last Friday in the lobby of the Morrisburg arena by report co-author Ashley Quan of Feed Ontario, Hunger Report 2022: The Deepening Cracks in Ontario’s Economic Foundation shows that over half a million adults and children accessed a food bank between April 21, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
Food bank use across the province has increased 42 per cent since before the pandemic and one in three people who visited the good bank were first time visitors.
Since 2018 there has been a 47 per cent increase in people with employment accessing food banks since 2018.
Quan reported that the food bank need is due to a much greater depth of poverty. She talked about all the factors contributing to that depth including precarious employment, inaccessible employment supports, inadequate disability supports and disinvestment in social housing.
“Seventy per cent of food bank visitors spend 68 per cent or more of their monthly income on rent,” explained Quan. In fact, to be considered affordable those costs should not exceed 30 per cent of a household’s total monthly income. The report suggests a number of policy changes to improve the situation such as benefits for gig workers, bringing social assistance closer to the poverty line and making affordable housing accessible.
This is the first time the Hunger Report tour has made a stop in the community. Jane Schoones of Community Food Share said that she jumped at the opportunity to bring this presentation here to where they could showcase the Morrisburg food bank and highlight rural needs.
Following the report each of the Foodbanks United partners had the opportunity to share their various initiatives that allow them to serve their respective communities.
Foodbanks United is a collaborative of all of the Eastern Ontario Food banks in SDG and Leeds Grenville working together to address poverty and making real change in our communities.