Hunger Lives Next Door: One-in-Five Canadians Skip Meals to Help Make Ends Meet
Toronto, ON May 6, 2013 – Today, food banks across the country are asking Canadians to join the Hunger Awareness Week movement from May 6-10, 2013, to raise awareness about the solvable issue of Hunger in Canada. Hunger hits much closer to home than many Canadians realize. In fact, according to a recent Angus Reid Public Opinion survey, commissioned by Food Banks Canada, more than a quarter of Canadians have been worried about how they will afford to buy food for themselves and/or their families at some point during the last year.
In communities nationwide complex factors such as health, education, and employment are directly impacting Canadians’ ability to feed themselves and their families. Hunger can very much be a hidden issue and the number of people forced to live with it is often underestimated. However, the reality becomes strikingly clear when more than 40 per cent of Canadians know someone who has used a food bank.
How Canadians cope with hunger
The survey statistics are staggering and highlight the challenges Canadians are dealing with every day:
- Over the last year, almost one in three of respondents worried about how they would afford to buy food for themselves and/or their families
- One-in-five parents say they skip meals to ensure there is enough food for their children to eat
- Thirty-six per cent of Canadians resorted to buying less expensive food for themselves or their families in the past year due to financial struggles.
“With almost half of the country knowing someone who has used a food bank, it’s clear that there is hunger in every community,” said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “As such, our goal for Hunger Awareness Week is to get Canadians talking about this widespread issue so we can work together to find longer term solutions.”
Local food banks work all year round to address hunger. Canadians can help make a positive impact during Hunger Awareness Week with three easy steps:
Give It Up: Put food out of reach - challenge yourself to fast on May 8th.
Give a Shout: Share your experience – show your support via Facebook, Twitter (#HungerWeek), or blogging.
Give It Out: Donate food, funds or your time to a local food bank.
Canadians participating in Hunger Awareness Week activities are in good company. On Wednesday May 8th, over 100 Parliamentarians and their staff will fast to experience what it's like to have food out of reach and to help raise awareness of hunger on Parliament Hill. For a complete list of Parliamentarians and staff participating, please visit http://hungerawarenessweek.ca/parliamentarians.
Partners in the plight against hunger
Without the support of generous corporate citizens and individuals, Hunger Awareness Week would not be possible. Food Banks Canada would like to give special thanks to this year’s Hunger Champion Farm Credit Canada (FCC), the country’s leading agricultural lender. FCC will launch its 10th anniversary of the FCC Drive Away Hunger program during Hunger Awareness Week.
Food Banks Canada would also like to thank the Corporate Hunger Heroes who play an essential role in raising awareness for the cause and are executing a number of events across the country, including Campbell Company of Canada, Canadian Pacific (CP), General Mills Canada Corporation, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, Investors Group Financial Services Inc., Kellogg Canada Inc., Kraft Canada Inc., Loblaw Companies Ltd., Nutella, Sony Canada Charitable Foundation, Tork, and Trailer Wizards.
Community Hunger Heroes are also integral to the cause. Their continued support, countless volunteer hours and inspirational stories help raise awareness and provide much needed assistance across Canada. Together, we can have an impact on the solvable issue of hunger in Canada and take action to help reduce those affected in our own backyards.
For more information on Hunger Awareness Week visit www.hungerawarenessweek.ca. Please show your support by following us on Twitter at @foodbankscanada, and joining our Food Banks Canada Facebook page.
Methodology: From March 4 to March 5, 2013, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey on behalf of Food Banks Canada among 1001 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada.
About Hunger Awareness Week
Hunger Awareness Week was created to provide food banks with an opportunity to educate Canadians about the hunger need in our country, and encourage all Canadians to help those in need. Close to 900,000 individuals turn to food banks for support each month, and nearly two million Canadians households are food insecure, struggling with not knowing where their next meal may come from. Today, more than 900 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies distribute groceries or provide meals to Canadians in need. Since 2006, Food Banks Canada has dedicated one day each year to raising awareness around the issue of hunger in Canada. This year marks the second full week of hunger education.
About Food Banks Canada
Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 per cent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit www.foodbankscanada.ca for more information.