More and more Kingston residents struggling to afford food
As inflation reaches an all-time high in nearly 40 years, the cost of living is affecting Kingston residents. More and more people are struggling to feed themselves in the region than ever before.
Record demand is being reported by Mission Kingston Food Bank and the Food Sharing Project, an organization that provides free nutritious food to all public schools in the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington regions.
The executive director of the Kingston Food Bank says the organization has seen about a 20 percent increase year-over-year, with demand rising exponentially over the past couple of months.
Food insecurity isn't a new occurrence in the region though, but now it is affecting more people in the city. Due to the rising cost of housing, and general inflation, more people are unable to afford to put food on the table than ever before.
Many of those who regularly access the food bank are living on Ontario support programs such as disability, which provides only $1,169 a month. Those who are working are earning, but not earning enough to cover the high cost of living in Kingston. The increase in demand extends beyond food banks too, into local schools, which play an integral role in providing healthy meals to children who may not have access to a good meal.
With the school year coming to an end next week, many families will now have to worry about an additional meal they may not be able to afford to feed their children. The Food Sharing Project has identified families in need of more support, and says they will continue distributing nutrition boxes throughout the summer months.
As both the Food Sharing Project and the Kingston Food Bank get ready to meet the increasing demand, the organizations themselves are also grappling with the rising costs of food that exceed their available funds.
The Food Sharing Project says if costs continue to rise, and funding does not increase, they will have to make tough decisions for the community. They say this month, they've already exceeded their budget by $20,000.