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.

One in six children in the United States is food insecure, meaning each day, millions of children do not have access to the meals they need to grow and develop. Studies show that children from food-insecure homes are more likely to have lower math scores, repeat a grade, have more social and behavioral problems, and be less prepared for the workforce. 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 the U.S., high housing costs, rising food prices and unexpected expenses all contribute to millions of people facing hunger at some point throughout the year.

Fast Facts

  • Over 41 million people face hunger in the United States—more than the population of Canada.
  • Each year in the United States, 72 billion pounds of good food is wasted.
  • Most families who are food insecure have at least one working adult.
  • 5.4 million seniors over age 60 are estimated to be 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.