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article imageCanada’s HungerCount study shows significant increase

By Bob Ewing     Nov 17, 2009 in Politics
The HungerCount 2009 survey just released shows food banks across Canada helped 794,738 separate individuals in March
2009.
The Food Banks Canada media release says this is an increase of 17.6%, or almost 120,000 people, compared to March 2008.
Food banks across Canada provided assistance to 794,738 people helped in March this year, of those 72,321 – 9.1% of the total – used a food bank for the first time.
“Food banks have unfortunately seen first-hand the effects of three recessions in three decades,” Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, which coordinated the annual national study, said in the media release.
She added “It is crucially important that, as we rebuild the economy, we begin to better address the
barriers that prevent too many Canadians from sharing in the national prosperity. It is unacceptable that, for most of the past decade, more than 700,000 people every month have needed help from food banks just to get by.”
Every region across the country saw food bank use rise,
The profile of those assisted is as varied as in past years:
• 37% of those assisted by food banks are children and youth under 18 years old.
• Nearly half of assisted households are families with children.
• 19% of households that turn to food banks for help each month are living on
income from current or recent employment.
• 6.3% of assisted households report some type of pension as their primary source
of income.
“It is likely that hunger in Canada is even more widespread than HungerCount findings suggest,” Schmidt said.
“For every person who turns to a food bank for help, several others in need of assistance do not ask for it. Canadians need to focus on long-term, policy-based solutions to resolve the problem of hunger.”
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