Toronto – December 18, 2015 – Food banks were established over 30 years ago as a short-term solution to addressing hunger in Canada. Three decades later, more than 852,000 families turned to food banks this year as a means of putting food on the table, according to the Hunger Count 2015 report. Nutrition and food security are among the top four social indicators of health in Canada, and statistics show that limited access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable food is linked to poor health.
- Over 1.7 million Canadians were assisted by food banks this year.
- Food bank use is 26% higher this year than in 2008, before the start of the global financial crisis.
- More than one-third of the people assisted were children.
- Over half the food banks in Canada saw an increase in the number of people seeking help this year.
- 78,693 people accessed a food bank for the first time in March 2015.
- 45.6% of food bank users live alone.
- 11.6% are people employed or recently employed who still need food bank assistance.
- 46.3% of people who turn to food banks are on social assistance benefits.
- 18.3% of people helped by food banks are on disability-related income support.
- 20.6% of people accessing food banks are two-parent families.
- 7% of households assisted by food banks live on a pension.
- 5% of people accessing food banks are homeless, the majority of which live with family or friends.
- 1 in every 5 households in Canada’s territories skips meals because there isn’t enough food in the house. This has drastic consequences on the health of northerners.
- Food Banks Canada works with 550 food banks and over 3,000 food programs across the country each year.
- For every $1 raised during its recent national campaign, Food Banks Canada was able to provide 3 meals to people in need (http://ow.ly/VVd6y)
- Canadians waste $31 billion of food every year, and 47% of this food is wasted in the home. Food that ends up in the landfill releases methane gas into the atmosphere. According to Environment Canada, "methane is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of its global warming potential (and) emissions from Canadian landfills account for 20 per cent of (our) national methane emissions."