No one should have to choose between keeping a roof over their head and putting food on the table or paying for heat or buying their child a new winter coat. Yet according to Food Banks Canada’s HungerCount report, there were an unprecedented 1.9 million visits to food banks in March 2023 alone.
The latest figures make it clear that there are far more people struggling than in recent history, and our weak social safety net is not catching them.
When someone visits a food bank, they are in a dire situation.
Many people don’t want to ask for help and will exhaust many other avenues before turning to a food bank for support.
In a national poll conducted in May 2023, those who reported eating less at some point in the previous 12 months were more likely to pawn or sell something, miss paying an electricity or utility bill on time, or ask for help from friends or family than go to a food bank. Those who did access a food bank said their need had become too great for them to manage alone and/or there was nowhere else to turn.
So, for every new person who seeks the support of a food bank, many more are suffering and strategizing to make it through the month with too little.
FORK IN THE ROAD
To help illustrate the devastating choices that people in every community are facing, Feed Ontario, which is part of Food Banks Canada’s network of 10 Provincial Associations and 4,750 hunger relief organizations, has created an interactive digital experience that walks users through a month of decisions including navigating where to live and who they may have to live with, what type of transportation they will rely on, choosing which bills they can afford to paid each month, and what, if any, little pleasures may be in the budget.
Called ‘Fork in the Road,’ the interactive tool allows visitors to select from different demographic profiles and a series of difficult decisions that many individuals and families living on low incomes must deal with each and every day.
Can you make it to the end of the month in someone else’s shoes?
Visit www.feedontario.ca/fork-in-the-road to begin your journey.