Inflation: Child hunger is a major concern in Canada Pi News

News Details

Toronto –

Tara Andrews says it has become a habit to skip meals from time to time, and the rising cost of groceries has made it very difficult for her and her two teens to get enough food.

Even with the help of food donations and the help of her retired parents, the 49-year-old single mother claims her rising income is more than her monthly income of $ 1,200. She already has a month left for rent in May and expects the same in June.

“My grocery bill has almost doubled and I can get half of what I can get. It’s a direct relationship, it’s more expensive stuff, I’m less likely to buy, ”says Andrews from his home.

This is a well-known story to various organizations dedicated to tackling food insecurity, says the head of Food Banks of Canada, who says many families with children are at particular risk as school-based food programs are discontinued.

This is a well-known story to various organizations dedicated to tackling food insecurity, says the head of Food Banks of Canada, who says many families with children are at particular risk as school-based food programs are discontinued.

Kirstin Beardsley estimates that one-third of the people who depend on Canadian food banks are children – up to 400,000 each month. The company says food banking is on the rise among single-parent families.

“These are children who have not had the opportunity to grow up. That has a long-term impact on the country, “said Piratesley.

“You can’t miss the fact that kids don’t have another childhood and they can’t do this. This is the only opportunity for them and you need to make sure that we give everyone the opportunity they need to create the life they want.

This summer, Food Banks expects Canada’s summer food packages for children to be 175,000 – 25,000 more than last year and many more than the 700 opening packs of 2015.

In Toronto, the head of the Daily Bread Food Bank says demand for help has risen as inflation has risen to nearly four decades.

Neil Hetherington His company sees about 160,000 customer visits per month – up from about 120,000 per month in January. He predicts that modeling with CIBC will increase customer traffic to 200,000 per month in December.

Colleagues across the country tell him about similar spikes, with many saying demand has risen by 20 to 30 per cent.

Although many of these visitors have been on the edge for years, Hetherington says he sees new faces never returning to food charities, emerging as a confluence of food prices, gas prices, housing costs and current labor uncertainty. Some fields.

“We see working people, but their salaries are not keeping pace with the cost of driving to their place of work or feeding their children. They are more concerned about what they see (putting food on the table),” says Heatherington.

Back in British Columbia, Andrews says things would be a lot worse for him without a subsidy for his three-bedroom apartment, which brings in $ 540 a month in rent.

But the already existing financial woes during the epidemics deepened and worsened in 2022 as inflation pushed up the prices of gas and utilities.

She is stuck with $ 150,000 in school loans, but can only repay the interest.

“I’m more fortunate than some, because I live in a house, so it’s a subsidy, but you still have all the bills to keep the house running. There’s food on top of that,” she says.

“I’m earning enough to cover my bills. I can not really buy food. It’s really coming down.”

Among the companies Andrews relies on is North Vancouver-based Backpack Patties, which serves weekend meals to children in need of help between school hours after Friday afternoon and resumption on Monday morning.

The project expanded into the summer months during epidemics, and will continue to grow this summer, says co-executive director Emily-Anne King.

“We hope the onset of Govt infection in March 2020 and the next six months will be the peak of demand for services like ours, but we see more demand today than we had,” King said.

He says he has recently added another 500 recipients to communities including Similkameen, Saltspring Island and Lytton Village, which were devastated by last year’s wildfires. They expect to help about 2,100 children a week this summer.

Demand is picking up as the annual inflation rate picks up faster than it did in 1983, with figures showing that Canada’s consumer price index rose 7.7 percent in May from a year earlier.

It has a number of options for higher interest rate hikes to control inflation. Bank of Canada has already raised its core target three times this year.

According to Canadian figures, grocery prices rose nearly 10 percent in May from the previous year, in line with April’s increases. The price of fresh vegetables rose 10 percent, while the biggest increase on record was 30 percent for cooking fats and oils.

Valerie Tarasuk, a food policy expert at the University of Toronto, says the situation will worsen for the 5.8 million Canadians believed to be food insecure, about 1.4 million of them children, as prices continue to rise.

Although the pool is likely to grow larger this year, he is concerned about Canadians who are already suffering, as income support programs increase along with rising costs.

“Things get worse before things get better. With each of these statements, I hope our political leaders feel more pressure to reconsider what they are doing down the line,” Tarasuk said.

“We don’t need small checks. They may not be enough to get this going. We really need policies that last, that is, things like coding. “

The Bank of Canada has said it is prepared to “act very strongly” to control inflation, leading some economists to suspect that rates could rise by as much as three-quarters of a percentage point next month, in line with last week’s move by the US Federal Reserve.

For Canadians who are already overweight, a one or two percent increase in monthly mortgage or loan repayments would be significant, says Heatherington.

“I find myself excited about having kids at the food bank on a daily basis and buying the food they need,” says Heatherington.

“They enjoy shopping at the food bank with their parents, it breaks your heart. It’s completely wrong to do that in our country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 23, 2022.