Report says number of Ontarians visiting food banks continues to rise

food bank

A report released today says Ontarians have been visiting food banks in greater numbers and more often for six years in a row.
    
Feed Ontario, a collective of hunger-relief organizations, says the troubling trend appears to have escalated during the most recent year on record.
    
The findings are laid out in its annual report, which found that more than 587-thousand adults and children used food banks in the province between April 2021 and March 2022.
    
The report says Ontarians visited food banks a total of 4.3 million times during this period, with one in every three visitors being a first-time user.
    
It says this represents a 15 per cent spike in the number of people turning to food banks for help and a 42 per cent surge in the number of visits compared to numbers recorded in 2019.
    
Feed Ontario says the long-standing causes behind this spike include precarious employment, inaccessible unemployment aid and inadequate disability supports, as well as the pandemic, high inflation and the rising cost of living.
    
Executive Director Carolyn Stewart says the organization is calling on the provincial government to tackle the issue in a number of ways, including by to tackling a rise in low-quality work and investing in government-assisted housing.