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More Young And Employed People Are Using Toronto's Food Banks & It's Reached 'Crisis Levels'

The city's cost of living is no joke.

Toronto Staff Writer
A food bank employee. Right: Boxes of food.

A food bank employee. Right: Boxes of food.

The rising cost of living is forcing more employed people to rely on Toronto's food banks, a surge that has put a serious strain on the city's nonprofits' resources and those attempting to access them.

According to the Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank's 2022 Who's Hungry Report, Toronto has seen a significant spike in food insecurity this year and a record-breaking amount of "food bank visits."

"Between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, there were a record 1.68 million food bank visits across Daily Bread and North York Harvest's member agencies, up from 1.45 million in 2020-2021," the report states.

Between the two centres, the amount of food out the door has increased from 30,000 pounds per day to 110,000. The rush of clients has depleted the organizations' resources, leaving them struggling to keep up with demand.

"The need for food banks is at crisis levels with no signs of slowing down. Food banks are seeing more new clients each month, and those visiting are experiencing severe levels of food insecurity," Neil Hetherington, the CEO of Daily Bread Food Bank, said in a press release.

"On average, they are also younger and more likely to be employed," Hetherington added.

The report notes that inflation and the city's skyrocketing cost of living, particularly regarding groceries, have significantly reduced food bank users' budgets.

The city's double whammy of low-income and high housing costs has left clients with a median of $8.01 left per day, compared to last year's $9.17, after rent and utilities are paid.

A problem that food banks say they can't solve on their own.

"Food insecurity is caused by poverty," Ryan Noble, the executive director of North York Harvest Food Bank, concluded. "While food banks play a vital role in the lives of thousands of Torontonians, they cannot reduce poverty. We need bold, systemic changes which require governments at all levels to act."

    Patrick John Gilson
    Toronto Staff Writer
    Patrick John Gilson is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada’s Ontario Desk focused on Ontario gas prices and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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