Hunger is not always easy to spot

Each month, more than 850,000 Canadians turn to food banks for help—more than one third of these individuals are children and youth. Food insecurity (not having access to affordable, nutritious food) and hunger at an early age are associated with childhood mental health problems, and also increase the risk of asthma and depression. Hunger is not always easy to spot. But just because you can’t always see it, that doesn’t mean it’s not affecting people around you. In Canada, food insecurity is closely connected to income. As a household’s income begins to decline, the risk of food insecurity increases.

Fast Facts

  • 13% of Canadians live in a state of food insecurity.
  • 38% of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh.
  • 1 in 5 people helped by food banks is on disability-related income.
  • In Nunavut, almost 50% of all households are food-insecure.

Why are food banks necessary?

People who access food banks come from all walks of life. Some people need support over longer periods, but most require help only occasionally or for a short period of time. Hunger leads to long-term health conditions, especially in young children, and is a barrier to academic success.

A food package may make a huge difference for a family trying to get back on their feet after a crisis. It can mean that a child doesn’t go to bed hungry or doesn’t get sick and miss school due to an immune system compromised by lack of adequate nutrition.

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