Food for Thought Blog

Food bank use across Waterloo region hits all-time high

April 25th, 2023In the News

735 households access food assistance for the first time in March

Waterloo Region, Ont., April 25, 2023 – Like other Ontario cities, food insecurity is rising rapidly in Waterloo region, and there are no signs of it slowing down.

Last month, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region recorded record-breaking numbers with more people accessing local food assistance programs than ever before.

“Food banks are now the norm for more individuals and families in our community,” says Kim Wilhelm, interim CEO of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region, adding, “Our March numbers paint a grim picture of how many of our neighbours can’t afford to put food on the table.”

Data provided by more than 120 community programs and agency partners, a part of the Community Food Assistance Network and supported by The Food Bank, shows that in March:

  • 735 unique households accessed food assistance for the first time, a year-over-year increase of 89%
  • 7,783 unique households were supported by the Network, representing 20,539 unique individuals, a year-over-year increase of 46%  
  • 14,692 hampers were distributed to community members, a year-over-year increase of 45%

While the Network works to meet the increased demand for food, Wilhelm says the numbers The Food Bank is seeing aren’t sustainable and calls on elected officials from all levels to make addressing food insecurity a priority.

“The Food Bank was founded in 1984 as a temporary measure to fill gaps that the government could not,” she explains. “However, nearly 40 years later, in lieu of policy interventions that improve the incomes of low-income households, we continue to provide emergency food support to ensure that no one in our community goes hungry.”

Both Feed Ontario and Food Banks Canada put forward several policy recommendations for the provincial and federal governments to consider. The Food Bank supports these recommendations to address food insecurity in the long term.

To learn more about hunger in Waterloo region, including numbers from January to March 2023, visit thefoodbank.ca/network/hunger.

About The Food Bank of Waterloo Region

Founded in 1984, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (The Food Bank) was the first organization of its kind in Ontario dedicated to providing emergency food. Thirty-eight years after incorporation, The Food Bank continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community, ensuring no one goes hungry. The Food Bank acquires and distributes more than five million pounds of fresh, frozen, and non-perishable food to 120+ community programs and agency partners throughout Waterloo region. Learn more at thefoodbank.ca.

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Media contacts

Mallory Ament
Public Relations & Executive Assistant
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
mallorya@thefoodbank.ca

Michelle Rickard
Manager, Marketing and Communications
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
micheller@thefoodbank.ca