Food for Thought Blog

HungerCount 2015: Too Many Canadians Require Food Support

November 17th, 2015Media Releases

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The HungerCount 2015 report shows that 850,000 people across Canada access food banks each month. More than 300,000 of those helped are children. Here in Waterloo Region 1 in 20 households received food assistance last year. Half of these households are families with children. Since 2008 there has been a 30% increase in emergency food hamper requests in Waterloo Region.

Within the Region, 18% of those accessing food assistance are employed or receive Employment Insurance, 28% receive Ontario Disability Support. Ontario Works recipients make up 36% of food support recipients. “There continues to be a struggle for low income households to make ends meet. This is especially poignant as we consider residents on fixed incomes, working in low-paying jobs and new Canadians struggling to find their way in a new country,” said Pat Singleton, Executive Director of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank. Lack of affordable housing continues to be a high priority identified by the Community Food Assistance Network. The recent Nutritious Food Basket Report illustrated that low income households pay a far greater percentage of their wage on rent than those receiving a median income. A single person on Ontario Works spends 94% of their income on rent. The majority of the 33,723 individuals that received food assistance in Waterloo Region last year live in rental properties.

“We see too many people unable to pay the bills despite working full time and too many people struggling to get back on their feet with inadequate income and training supports,” said Wendi Campbell, Executive Director of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. “This is a very generous community but we can’t do it all. We endorse Food Banks Canada’s recommendations to government towards providing meaningful increases to supports that will positively change lives.”

Every day the local Food Assistance Network, composed of more than 100 programs served by The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank, is called upon to provide 1500 meals and 250 emergency food hampers. This is only possible through community support. When you support food & fund drives, special events such as the Santa Claus Parade, Stuff A Bus, CP Holiday Train, Fill An Army Truck or make donations directly to either the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank or The Food Bank of Waterloo Region you help provide essential sustenance to the 1 in 20 households accessing food support.

Details about hunger in our community and how to help can be found at thefoodbank.ca and cambridgefoodbank.on.ca.