More Ontarians are accessing a food bank today than there were in 2008, and there has been a 20 per cent increase in seniors using food banks during the same time.
These sobering statistics were shared by Kawartha Food Source on the eve of Hunger Awareness Week, held Sept. 18-22.
Hunger Awareness Week is coordinated by Food Banks Canada and its provincial and community food bank associations across the country. It tells the story of the individuals and families that turn to food banks for help.
And the story is reflective in the numbers. More than 800,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 36 per cent are children and youth. In Ontario, there are over 335,000 individuals accessing food banks each month. One in three of these food bank clients are children under 18. Food bank use is still not returning to post-recession levels.
Since the recession, single person households using food banks has grown by over 20 percent while employment levels have dropped by almost 50 per cent for clients. As well, the majority of food insecure households (more than 60 per cent) are working poor, highlighting the inadequacy of low-waged work when it comes to covering the cost of basic needs.
In the City of Kawartha Lakes, the rise in need is represented by a continual increase of new food bank users in various population segments such as seniors and those with disabilities. More than 863 individuals were assisted last month – 35 per cent of whom are children and youth.
During Hunger Awareness Week, Kawartha Lakes Food Source is encouraging the community to engage. Residents are invited to participate in local events taking place during the week-long awareness campaign. There is also a fundraiser in conjunction with South Pond Farms here.
Door to Door Food Drive – Neighbours helping Neighbours – On Sept. 16, from 9 am to 2 pm, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lindsay branch, in partnership with Kawartha Lakes Food Source, is holding their annual food drive in Lindsay. It’s an easy and convenient way for residents of Lindsay to help those less fortunate. Donations may be made in a variety of ways. Non-perishable food donations are placed in a bag and left outside resident’s doors by 9 am and it will be picked up by food drive volunteers. Participating apartment complexes will have a barrel in their lobbies for building residents to place their donations. Donations may also be dropped off at the Church of Latter-day Saints (48 Angeline St.) that day. Volunteers will also be knocking on doors to ask if residents can spare food items in case they have forgotten. If you live outside Lindsay, or missed the pick up time, call (705) 324-0707 to find out how you can donate.
Restaurant Roundup – Support Kawartha Lakes Food Source by making a cash donation at Kelsey’s Restaurant, Lindsay, from September 17 to September 23. We are asking restaurant customers to consider ‘rounding up’ their bills by $1, $3, $5 or more prior to payment as a donation to KLFS to support our fundraising efforts to fight hunger in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Lindsay Central Exhibition – LEX – Kawartha Lakes Food Source has partnered with the Lindsay Central Exhibition for a food and cash donation fundraiser. Help ‘fill the wheel’ on Sept. 20, as ride tickets will be discounted with a donation of a non-perishable food donation. Gates open at 4 pm. The fundraiser will continue with food and cash donations being accepted at the grandstand LEX party concert featuring the James Barker Band on the evening of Sept. 22.
Open Garden – Last, but not least, Kawartha Lakes Food Source extends an invitation to those in need to come and harvest fresh vegetables as the growing season winds down. The new Food Source open garden is located at the Alternative Education and Training Centre at 230 Angeline St. S., Lindsay which is accessible all days of the week, at any time of the day.
About Kawartha Lakes Food Source
Kawartha Lakes Food Source is a centralized distribution centre that works to collect food from reclamation sources; buys food in bulk; sorts and stores food; promotes awareness of hunger and its impact; and coordinates fundraising. They provide food in support to ten member agencies (local food banks) on a monthly “fair share” basis. As well, it supports 20 area elementary and secondary schools through its Grab ‘N Grow breakfast and snack program.