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Food bank use ‘stubbornly high’ in Canada — and higher than average in NL

A new report shows food bank use remains consistently high in Newfoundland and Labrador as it is across the country  with more than 28,000 visits in March of 2018.The numbers are not coming down, Chris Hatch, chief executive officer of Food Banks Canada, told The St. Johns Morning Show.Were not seeing any relief from the historic high of 2008, during the last recession.The newly released Hunger Count 2018 report from Food Banks Canada provides information on food bank use in this province, just a week after a fire at the warehouse for the Community Food Sharing Association resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods meant for food banks across Newfoundland and Labrador.Community raises 150K for burned-out food bank warehouse, manager says Whats in a Christmas hamper? Turkey, hope, or a hamstrung safety net, depending on who you ask Key findings of the 2018 report include: In March 2018, 28,062 total visits were made to 48 food banks in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Children made up 36.6 per cent of the total individuals served by food banks in the province  higher than the national average but represent just 20.6 per cent of the population.  Single adults in N.L. made 53.3 per cent of food bank visits in the province, compared with 45.1 per cent nationally.  And 80.4 per cent of food bank visits in Newfoundland and Labrador were by people receiving income supports like disability or social assistance the highest proportion of any province or territory, and well above the national average of 59 per cent.New methodology.

The new report is the first since Hunger Count 2016, after which Food Bank Canada took a break to review its methodology for the reports. They’ve decided to measure not the number of people who had used a food bank but the number of visits, as some people in particularly tough situations may come in more than once per month.Chris Hatch of Food Banks Canada said it was wonderful to see the community support after an absolutely devastating fire at the Community Food Sharing Association warehouse. (Colleen Connors/CBC)We think its a much more accurate reflection of food bank use and food-related poverty in Canada, Hatch said.Newfoundland and Labrador had about 28,000 visits to its food banks in March 2018, for a population of about 526,000.

That”s about one visit for every 19 people. In comparison, Alberta had about one visit for every 43 people, and Nova Scotia had one for every 37 people.The numbers stay stubbornly high, Hatch said of food bank use across Canada.Glad to see community support.Food banks are changing, Hatch said, to better serve and reflect their clients. More than half of the food distributed at banks across Canada is fresh, he said, and banks are trying to offer more choice to allow people to pick what they want to need.In order to reach their goal of reducing the need for their services, Food Banks Canada is calling for federal leadership on research into providing a basic income, as well as funding for standardized, affordable early learning and daycare for all.

The numbers stay stubbornly high.- Chris Hatch.Hatch said he was heartened to see the support received by the Community Food Sharing Association in Newfoundland and Labrador after last weeks fire, which destroyed a significant amount of food that would have been used to supply food banks across the country.Its great to see the community come together and really get them back on their feet so quickly, and help Eg and all of his team there, he said. Its just wonderful.

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