Hungry in Toronto
For a lot of Canadians living in Toronto and the GTA, eating isn’t something they can afford to do every day.
Even with the increasing minimum wage, people with disabilities or single people living on social welfare are just some of the most common frequenters of food banks. According to Who’s Hungry 2015, the most recent report of hunger in the GTA by food bank network Daily Bread, 51 per cent are people with disabilities which make it difficult for them to uphold full-time jobs, and 48 per cent are single-person households.
And the biggest reason for the over 334,570 people in downtown core in areas such as East York, Toronto, and York frequenting food banks is Toronto’s steadily increasing housing prices.
Who’s Hungry 2015 also states that food bank clients usually spend 71 per cent of their income on housing alone, often taking that money from other savings that cut into basic needs like eating or transport. Compared to 2008, most people stopped frequenting food banks after 12 months—but in 2015, this time has doubled into 24 months, suggesting that poverty is more difficult to get out of than ever before.
However, food banks are not exempt from rising rents within the city. Recently, food banks and homeless shelters have been closing down due to their insufficient funds, leaving even more people in poverty hungry and homeless people without a place to live. Just this April, the Salvation Army Hope Shelter on College and McCaul (right beside the newspaper’s office) shut down due to its increased lease and maintenance costs over the past two years that they could no longer afford on city funding. The Hope Shelter had provided 124 beds and meals for men aged 18 to 70, who now no longer have this space to stay at.
While poverty is a big issue in Toronto, the provincial government has begun a five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy, focusing primarily on youth in poverty in 2014. In Toronto, a 20-year Anti-Poverty Plan was set in 2015 by John Tory to eradicate poverty in the city once and for all, although its budget allotments are set to be determined later on this month.
But of course, food banks rely heavily on community involvement. Even with the steadily increasing prices all around us, there are still many ways for you to help.
Daily Bread, a food bank located on 110 New Toronto St and the largest food bank supplier in the GTA, has a variety of possibilities to help fight against hunger. For the holiday seasons, Daily Bread has a Holiday campaign from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31 where all you have to do is drop off food at your nearest Daily Bread food bank. Some of the most needed food items are non-perishable goods such as canned vegetables, canned fruit, rice, and baby food and formula.
You can also volunteer or donate monthly with their Give Every Month Program, and let everybody in Toronto enjoy the food we have available to us within the city.
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To learn more, visit http://www.dailybread.ca/.