‘A perfect storm of need’: Canada’s food banks facing worst summer in 40 years

By Cormac Mac Sweeney and Hana Mae Nassar

With inflation skyrocketing, food banks across Canada are facing major strains. In fact, Food Banks Canada says this may be the worst summer it’s ever seen.

“It is challenging times,” admitted CEO Kirstin Beardsley, who says the strain on their network has been immense.

“You’ve got more people coming through the doors because they aren’t able to put food on the table for their families, you’ve got fewer people in the community who are in a position to give — they might not need a food bank but their budgets are stretched.”

With the rising cost of living, demand is rising and donations are dropping.

“To compensate for the decline in donations, food banks have increased the amount of food that they purchase to make sure people get what they need. Obviously, those budgets are stretched,” Beardsley said.

“It’s just a perfect storm of need.”

She notes it’s not just regulars who are seeking help to put food in the fridge either. The number of first-time users is rising significantly.

As the need continues to grow, Beardsley is appealing to people who can give to donate food or make monthly cash donations.

“If you are in a position to give, please think about your neighbours in need.”

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In June, Food Banks Canada said about seven million Canadians reported going hungry at least once between March 2020 and March 2022. The rising cost of living in Canada is only making the situation more dire.

The research released last month found almost a quarter of people were eating less “than they think they should” because they simply could not afford it.

“Food insecurity in Canada is really related to poverty and low-incomes, so we need to see movement on affordable housing and long-term policies on income supports, that would really change the game in terms of how many people rely on our services,” Beardsley previously told CityNews, adding help needs to come from all levels of government.

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