Director of Operations at Belleville’s Gleaners Food Bank says Tuesday’s national report on Food Bank numbers increasing, particularly in Alberta, is ‘scary’.
Susanne Quinlan’s comment comes in response to the Food Banks Canada report that some 863,492 Canadians turned to a food bank in March up 1.3% from a year ago – a 28% rise over 2008.
The report found that food banks in eight out of 10 provinces saw increased traffic with the biggest jumps in Alberta (60%), Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and the three territories.
Food Banks Canada says the higher usage is driven by short term economic disruption and the failure of government to adequately support people who face tough times.
Only Manitoba and Ontario didn’t see increased usage compared to 2015.
While the local food bank hasn’t seen a rise in food hampers given out this year, keeping in line with the province, Quinlan says they have seen an increase in people stopping in for a free lunch everyday.
Last year, 7,570 food hampers were given out. Broken down that works out to 3,131 families, 10,766 adults, 6,388 children, 334 seniors and 272 Loyalist College students.
Ruth Ingersoll, Executive Director of the Quinte Community Development Council said local food insecurity is still alarming with 2014 data showing a food insecurity rate of 11.4% – three percentage points higher than the provincial average.
Ingersoll said with the release of Tuesday’s report there needs to be a national food security program implemented, adding ‘everyone has the right to food’.
Food Banks Canada is calling for changes to the welfare system and a fast-tracked federal strategy on poverty reduction.
Meanwhile, the CDC administers good food boxes full of fresh fruits and vegetables to residents at a low price. You can get more details on their programs by visiting http://cdcquinte.com/ or calling (613) 968-2466.
Get more details on Gleaners Food Bank programs by visiting http://www.gleanersfoodbank.ca/