In March 2010, 94,359 people in BC visited a foodbank — 4000 more than during the same period one year previously. Nearly a third were children.
According to The HungerCount 2010 Survey, an annual study conducted by Food Banks Canada, half of the households that turn to foodbanks for help each month are families with children. And, says the report, some foodbanks in BC have seen increases of between 14 and 20% over the past year.
“The causes of hunger and low income run much deeper than the recent economic crisis,” says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada. “The need for food banks is a result of our failure as a country to adequately address a number of social issues, including a changing job market, a lack of affordable housing and child care, and a social safety net that is ineffective.”
The HungerCount’s recommendations to federal and provincial governments to address hunger include:
- implement a national poverty prevention and reduction strategy
- Create a federal housing strategy
- Increase federal investment in a system of quality, affordable, accessible child care
- Address the high rates of low income among vulnerable seniors
In BC, foodbanks have identified three policy changes that would decrease the need for foodbanks:
- Raising the provincial minimum wage
- Increasing investment in affordable housing
- Increasing Income Assistance benefit levels