As Canadians collect to take pleasure in a meal this Thanksgiving, a rising variety of individuals across the nation are counting on food banks.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s greater than 4,700 food banks noticed about 1.1 million visits every month, in keeping with Tania Little, chief growth and partnerships officer for Food Banks Canada.
“With the pandemic dragging on, we’re continuing to see large increases in people that are coming through their doors,” Little mentioned. “They’re seeing increases anywhere between 50 and 200 per cent, of new people walking through the door every day.”
She mentioned the will increase have been seen in native food banks across the nation, nevertheless it’s been particularly pronounced in massive cities like Vancouver.
Demand for food banks tends to surge within the fall and winter, nevertheless it has risen greater than anticipated to date this 12 months, Little mentioned.
She inspired everybody who can to donate cash, time or non-perishable items to their native food financial institution, noting that cash and volunteer hours are particularly worthwhile.
Monetary donations permit food banks to buy objects straight, typically in bulk, and to give attention to contemporary produce, protein and dairy merchandise that complement the non-perishable meals which might be sometimes donated, in keeping with Little.
She additionally famous that, whereas donations are important to holding food banks working, structural change is important to scale back the demand for food banks within the first place.
“The charitable food banking system, in and of itself, isn’t meant to solve the issues of food insecurity,” Little mentioned. “We’re really here to help address those short-term needs every day in communities.”
Another vital a part of Food Banks Canada’s mission, in keeping with Little, is to advocate for insurance policies that can cut back food insecurity. She listed entry to housing, little one care and a dwelling wage as examples.
“Those kinds of policies actually create income security for people, and we know that the best way to address food insecurity long-term is to really work and get good policy put in place to address those needs,” Little mentioned.