A Toronto-area food bank is sounding the alarm after it witnessed a dramatic increase in new clients – a vast majority of which were new immigrants.
According to Feed Scarborough, visits to its five locations across the region have spiked by 112% in the past year.
A total of 95% of those relying on Feed Scarborough were not born in the country, while 72% had only been in Canada a year or less.
“I can’t pay the bills. I don’t have any money. I don’t have any income, but I’m still surviving,” client and new immigrant Brigitte told CityNews.
“The situations I’ve passed through, the things I’ve passed through have been a lot, and at times I regret, I’m like ‘why did I leave?’ I would’ve stayed there. On the other hand, I say you have to face it and life has to move on.”
A report by the organization also found that 28% of those accessings its services were employed currently, while another 65% were students.
“Think about it, you’re working 40 hours a week, but you still can’t afford food which is a basic human right,” said founder Suman Roy.
Clients cited low income as one of the main reasons behind why they had to resort to visiting a food bank.
“That says that we have precarious employment [and] that says housing and other expenses are so high that food is somewhere where they compromise,” explained Roy.
Additionally, new immigrants made up the vast majority of those visiting Feed Scarborough.
Food bank usage has also extended to rural parts of Ontario.
Several organizations serving Simcoe County have also reported record rates of new visitors.
“We are forecasting to continue to see an upward trend in individuals accessing our services without a shadow of a doubt,” said director of Sharing Place, Chris Peacock in July.
“There are individuals that have never thought that they would be walking through the door of a food bank. But we’re in a time that a lot of individuals are not able to afford what many would consider to be life subsidies.”