Amid skyrocketing food prices as a result of the inflation crisis, more Canadians are using food banks to feed their families.
According to the Daily Bread Food Bank, a Toronto-based food charity, nearly triple the number of people visited a food bank in June 2022 (171,631) compared to June 2019 (65,000).
“The stories that we’re hearing — the common theme is people’s income doesn’t match what their expenses are,” Daily Bread Food Bank CEO Neil Hetherington told CTV.
“I’m seeing more and more working families who have a job, or maybe they’re putting together two part-time jobs, and are unable to make ends meet.”
In addition to the demand for services, Hetherington says food banks’ operations are also being impacted because of the increased cost of food.
“We are at a crisis stage and as more people come to food banks across the country, it is more expensive for us to be able to feed that need,” Hetherington said.
Food Banks Canada is also raising similar concerns as it is reporting the worst summer Canada’s food banks have ever seen.
Food Banks Canada CEO Kirstin Beardsley says inflation has caused a strain on their network.
“You’ve got more people coming through the doors because they aren’t able to put food on the table for their families, you’ve got fewer people in the community who are in a position to give — they might not need a food bank but their budgets are stretched,” says Beardsley.
According to Beardsley, the number of first-time users has risen significantly in recent months.
Canada’s consumer price inflation in June rose to 8.1% – the largest yearly change since January 1983.
According to Statistics Canada, the cost of basic accommodations jumped by nearly 50% across Canada when compared to last year. Air travel also saw a 6.4% increase in prices.
Heavily impacted food items include onions which jumped by 25% in June, prices of carrots also spiked by 23% while canned beans went up by 20%.
Meats like chicken breast and ground beef spiked by 20% and 10% respectively. 1kg of chicken breast costs $15.04 on average while 1kg of ground beef goes for $10.32.