Community

Demand for food assistance on the rise in York Region

Soaring costs of groceries continue to contribute to rising food insecurity in Canada, as more households struggle to put food on the table.

Canada’s Food Price Report 2023 predicted that families would spend up to $1,065 more on food in 2023, representing an increase of 5 to 7 per cent, but according to Statistics Canada food prices rose by 10.6 per cent in February.

York Region’s 211 Frontline Report for February 2023 noted that “calls for Food Banks, Food Hamper Delivery and Grocery Vouchers remain high.” Increased demands have been placed on food programs across York Region, such as the Food Bank of York Region, which has launched its spring fundraiser campaign (April 4 to April 25) to meet the increased need.

The Food Bank of York Region, which serves as the region’s food distribution hub, has expanded its programs to provide food aid to more households facing food insecurity. Their recently launched School Food Program currently serves food-insecure children in 21 schools across the region, requiring the expansion of their hours of operation to seven days a week.

In the first quarter of 2023, their network of 75 food service providers experienced a 107 per cent increase in first-time clients compared to the first quarter of 2022.

“We are seeing a significant rise in demand for food assistance in the region, in particular for low-income households,” said Alex Bilotta, the Food Bank of York Region’s founder and CEO. “So far in 2023, the number of people accessing our network has increased by over 20 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2022.”

The rising costs of food, fuel and rent likewise affect food banks and their ability to provide their services. The Food Bank of York Region is appealing to the community to consider making a cash donation to their spring fundraiser campaign to help support their programs.

“We are depending more than ever on the community to provide our programs and to reach people in the community experiencing food insecurity,” Bilotta noted.

For more information or to make a donation or volunteer, visit www.fbyr.ca.

 

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