Food banks feed more Canadians every year.
In 2015, there were 863,492 new food bank users.
This number increases every year, bit by bit; the country has seen a 28 percent jump in new users since 2008.
On November 15, Food Banks Canada released its annual Hunger Count report to tell Canadians where, how and why people access their services.
The data in the report shows that people in all walks of life, in various professions and cities, access their local food bank.
We break down the data to help dispel some common misconceptions about food banks.
Myth: Those that use the food banks are unemployed.
Some people that access food banks are living in poverty and live below the low income cut off rate of $18,421 a year.
The majority of food bank users live on a fixed income from social assistance programs or disability benefits.
Take a look at the chart below to find out
Myth: Food banks are just about food.
Food banks offer a variety of community supports including education on healthy living, meal plans and food prep.
They’re also community spaces – food banks in the Ottawa region manage their own vegetable gardens.
Hear what Ottawa Food Bank Executive Director Michael Maidment has to say about modern food banks:
New standards in healthy eating encourage food banks to accept fresh produce, meat and other perishable items from possible donors.
Myth: Food bank users are old.
The majority of food bank users are over the age of 30, but so is Canada’s population.
Youth ages 12-30 account for 27.4% of the total food bank users, and are over-represented in their age category.
When the math includes children under the age of twelve, the statistics get even worse.
Over half of all food bank users are under age 30.
For young people, Canada is making food banks more accessible.
Some university and college campuses across the country have a food centre where students can access the essentials.
We visited the Food Centre at Carleton University to learn more.
Myth: Food bank users are homeless
The vast majority of food bank users have shelter and lodging with over two-thirds paying market-level rent and 7 per cent of food bank users owning their homes.
The report calls on government to work fast on establishing more affordable housing so people don’t have to decide between food and rent.
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