TORONTO – More than 375,000 people use food banks in Ontario and a third of them are children under 18 years of age, according to a report by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.
Although the total of food bank users are down compared to a record-high last year of 412,998, it is still higher than the 2008 recession numbers of 374,230.
Children under 18 years of age are the largest group of food bank users in Ontario, with more than 131,734 of them accessing food banks each month.
The report points out that food bank clients are often not who you might expect.
The numbers show that fewer than a quarter of total food bank users live in social housing and students and recent graduates in rural communities are one of the fastest growing groups.
“There are a number of reasons that one might reach out to a food bank for support, such as a lost job or reduced hours at work, a recent or long-term disability, or as a newcomer to the country trying to build a new life,” said the Hunger Report 2013. “Fundamentally, however, it is because they simply do not have sufficient resources to afford all of their monthly expenses, including food.”
In March of 2013, food banks in Ontario served 1,206,137 meals.