In light of the 2005 Nutritious Food Basket results, it appears the ability for many Canadians to access healthy, safe food is becoming more difficult.
One of the most common responses to hunger in Ontario is the use of food banks. In fact, the Ontario Hunger Report recently was released, stating that people served by food banks in Ontario has increased by 21.5 percent since 2001.
Surprisingly, one in seven accessing food banks are considered “working poor,” indicating they hold a part-time or full-time job.
The report also stated 43 percent of those accessing food banks are under the age of 18.
With winter approaching, the amount of individuals forced to use a food bank undoubtedly will increase due to the rise in energy prices.
The report states that after paying rent and hydro, those on social assistance and the “working poor” will struggle to have enough money for food. Many of these individuals will have to use a food bank.
Unfortunately, the Ontario Hunger Report states that one in three food banks reported a decrease in their ability to meet the needs of their clients.
The effects of hunger on health are enormous as individuals in food insufficient households are more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and food allergies.
If diminishing social assistance, low-paying jobs, and food banks cannot alleviate hunger, then we need to demand change. Most food banks will state they are a Band-Aid solution which do not offer a long-term sustainable answer to hunger.
The answer comes from individuals and communities demanding that their government change how we treat those most in need—to demand an acceptable social safety net that allows people to select healthy and safe foods.
Isn’t that what Canada is all about? Knowing that your fellow Canadians and government will take care of you in difficult times helps to allow you to get back on your feet!
The government needs to respect the hard-working Canadians who are affected by unexpected job loss. Let’s prove we are a caring nation.
How can we morally continue to deprive individuals of one of the basic requirements of life—food? Write a letter to your local municipality or local MP and MPP, and remind them of the Canadian ideal!