From the 2012 survey results, the following has been determined:
•412,998 individuals accessed Ontario food banks in March 2012
•38.7% of food bank users, or 159,918 individuals, were children (11,737 more children than in March 2011)
•44.6 % of all food bank users were women over 18 years of age
•174,618 households were served by food banks (9.8% of which were first time users)
•42.8% of food bank users were on social assistance
•27.3% of food bank users were on disability support
•64.5% of food bank users were low-income, rental market tenants
•19.2% of food banks ran out of nutritious food during the month
What do these figures mean?
These figures tell us that an undeniably high number of people in Ontario live each and every day chronically hungry. What’s more, these numbers tell us that food bank use, in Ontario, is at an all time high. Far surpassing the statistical count of 2011, and even that of the 2008 recession (with 374,000 users), more individuals are seeking assistance from food banks than ever before. In the month of March alone, no less than 412,998 individuals accessed food banks, including over 17,190 households that accessed food banks for the first time in their lives.
There are a number of key factors that have contributed to this increase in need. Unemployment rates, rising food and housing costs, and cuts to government expenditures left many Ontarians falling short financially. Environmental anomalies have impacted jobs, and food supply, which will increase demand on food banks throughout the year. The spring’s warm weather and the frost that followed, coupled with the harsh, dry summer, left many rural communities and farmers’ fields empty or filled with ruined crops. Flooding in the north
uprooted entire communities, forcing some to leave their homes and others to have to pay for extensive damages with little means to do so.
All told, access to healthy foods — such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy — has become increasingly difficult and more expensive.
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