About hunger in Canada
Many people do not realize the extent of hunger’s reach in this country. Each month, close to 850,000 Canadians are assisted by food banks, and 36.4% of those helped are children and youth.
The problem of hunger is a persistent one, with food banks providing comparable levels of food and other assistance for the better part of a decade.
Who is turning to food banks? There is no single, typical profile. The people helped include families with children, employed people whose wages are not sufficient to cover basic living essentials, individuals on social assistance, and Canadians living on a fixed income, including people with disabilities and seniors.
Consider these figures from HungerCount 2013:
36.4% of those turning to food banks are children and youth
4.3% of adults helped are over age 65
11.3% of people assisted are Aboriginal
50% of households helped receive social assistance
11.5% have income from current or recent employment
16.4% receive disability-related income supports
8% of food banks ran out of food during the survey period
50% of food banks needed to cut back on the amount of food provided to each household
About hunger in Alberta
During a time of apparent economic recovery, far too many Albertans still struggle to put food on the table.
According to the HungerCount 2013 report, food bank usage in Alberta remains high, despite a slight dip in numbers from 2012. This year, 48,653 people turned to food banks for assistance during the month of March, down slightly from a year earlier, when food banks in this province reported helping 53,512 people.
The HungerCount report is based on a survey completed by food banks across the country. They collect data on usage at their individual facilities for one month. The results are compiled and analyzed by Food Banks Canada, a national network of provincial food bank associations and their 450 affiliated food banks.
“What this national report clearly illustrates is that despite the great economic growth and success in Alberta, hunger persists at staggering levels,” said Stephanie Rigby, executive director of Alberta Food Banks.
Food bank use in Alberta has remained relatively unchanged in the last decade, despite the economic boom in this province. In 2003, 48,743 people accessed a food bank and that number crested at 59,311 in 2010 when the country began to regain strength after the recession.
“Significant portions of our province’s population are vulnerable and face significant challenges. Food insecurity – not knowing where your next meal is coming from – has become a norm, not an exception,” said Rigby.
Alberta By The Numbers:
- 48,653 people helped by a food bank in March, 2013 – nearly on par with 10 years ago.
- The number of people helped by food banks in the 2003 survey was 48,743.
- Food bank usage in Alberta is down from 2012 (by 9.1%) – bucking the national trend – which saw a 4.5% decrease in overall food bank assistance from 2012 to 2013.
- At the height of food bank use in 2010, as many as 59,311 people turned to food banks for help.