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‘Put Food in the Budget’ Campaign Reveals Reason for Governments & Corporations to Like Food Banks

This video presents Food Banks Canada: HungerCount 2014.

The HungerCount report is the only comprehensive study of food bank use in Canada.

It offers a snapshot of the people helped by food banks and other charitable food programs, looks at the causes of hunger and food insecurity, and offers recommendations to reduce hunger.

Who Banks on Food Banks in Canada? Infographic by the Put Food in the Budget campaign
Who Banks on Food Banks in Canada? Infographic by the Put Food in the Budget campaign

The Put Food in the Budget campaign provides these Basic Facts.

About 1.7 million people in Canada receive food from food banks each year:3

  • 841,191 people receive food from a food bank in Canada in an average month.4
  • 375,789 people receive food from a food bank in Ontario in an average month.5
  • 1,040,400 individual visits a year were reported by Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies in the Greater Toronto Area, averaging 86,700 visits permonth.6
  • 37% of the people who receive food from food banks are children.7

Food banks distribute about 200 million pounds of food each year in Canada.8

A single person on Ontario Works receives $656 per month.9

Income inequality has reached levels higher than at any time since the 1930s.10

The Put Food in the Budget campaign asks the following pertinent questions:

  • Why do governments and corporations like food banks?
  • Paying recipients enough social assistance to pay the rent and buy their own food makes much more sense than food bank dependency. Why won’t governments do this?
  • Again, when the result is so meagre, we must ask what is the real reason for these high-profile corporate charity campaigns?

Here are the eye-opening answers.

We hope to spark a conversation about two important topics:

  • How governments and corporations are the real beneficiaries of relying on food banks to provide food to people who are poor.
  • How we can work together to put enough pressure on our governments that they put food in the budget – and ensure that everyone in Canada can live a life of health and dignity….

We believe the purpose of the corporate charity campaigns is to distract us from the income inequality between the wealth of large corporations and most Canadians.

We can end poverty. The first step is to put food in the budget by raising social assistance rates and the minimum wage to levels that lifts people above the poverty line.

We hope you will discuss this report with your family, friends, co-workers and people with whom you volunteer.

If you agree with us, please join our campaign at www.putfoodinthebudget.ca. Together, let’s put food in the budget!

Melissa Addison-Webster
Sharon Anderson
Andrea Hatala
Tracy Mead
for the Put Food in the Budget campaign

The average monthly ration per person at a food bank is depicted in the photo below.

food bank user receives per month – can look like: Image by the Put Food in the Budget campaign
What 9.8 pounds of food – the average amount a food bank user receives per month – can look like: Image by the Put Food in the Budget campaign

Here are two important messages from Put Food in the Budget campaign.

“Food banks meet a fraction of needs – Toronto Star headline announces release of Put Food in the Budget Discussion Paper – Who banks on food banks?”

The Put Food in the Budget campaign is both pleased and disappointed to bring to your attention important new research into the limitations of food banks in Canada.

This article in today’s Toronto Star announces the release of our Discussion Paper – We Need to Talk. Who Banks on Food Banks?

The front page of the Toronto Star has an article with the headline ‘Use of Food Banks Soaring. That article continues on page 16 where the article about our report says ‘’Campaign urges government to target poverty, calling it the root cause of hunger”.

Our research shows that on average, each person in Canada who receives food from a food bank receives 9.8 pounds of food per month worth $24.50.

Twelve prominent corporate food charity campaigns contributed only 4.4 pounds of food per person per year (with a value of $11) to food banks. This is equivalent to 1.5 days of food.

A single person in Toronto needs $266 a month to purchase healthy, nutritious food according to a survey conducted by the Toronto Public Health Unit in 2013.

When the result of this corporate charity is so insignificant when compared to the need – we must ask – What is the real reason major corporations promote charity?

Food Banks Canada’s most recent report places “a large piece” of responsibility for food banks’ longevity on the state of social assistance. It says “50% of households helped by food banks live primarily on social assistance benefits…(but) these benefits have largely not increased with the cost of living for about 20 years.”

Why does Premier Kathleen Wynne stand by and leave community volunteers with the responsibility to provide the basic food necessities for people whose income is social assistance?

We need to talk. Who banks on food banks? Please download our Discussion paper here. Fill in our online survey here. Share this email with your family, friends and co-workers.

Join with the Put Food in the Budget campaign and demand that social assistance rates and the minimum wage be raised to levels that lift people above the poverty line.

“Debbie and Asha tell Premier Wynne to raise the minimum wage on CBC Toronto Sounds of the Season”

At 1am Friday morning Debbie joined the lineup inside the CBC head office on Front Street in Toronto. Debbie, a member of the Health and Strength group in South Riverdale (and part of the campaign) was on a mission – to be in the audience and challenge Premier Wynne to do more about poverty.

Another dozen members of the Put Food in the Budget campaign arrived later that morning at 5 am! (See the picture below!) to pass out information from the just released Discussion Paper – We need to talk. Who banks on food banks?

We spread out along the long lineup in the CBC atrium handing out a card that describes the small impact of the Sounds of the Season food drive – a one-time contribution of 2.76 pounds of food to each person who goes to a Daily Bread member food bank.

People in line were eager to talk – as we knew they would be. Several hundred people took this information into the auditorium with them – to think about as they listened to the all-day plea for food bank donations.

After helping to canvass the people waiting to go into the show – Debbie and Asha went back into the Glenn Gould auditorium for the live show.

About 6:30 am the host – Matt Galloway – asked Debbie ‘on air’ to say why she had come so early to line up. Debbie said “I am a social justice advocate and there is a solution to poverty. Kathleen Wynne must raise the minimum wage to $14 hour”. The audience clapped loudly.

About 7:30 Premier Kathleen Wynne arrived – with a donation of 8 kg. of food – and joked that she had brought more than the mayor of Toronto. Matt Galloway then said ‘Debbie is here because she thinks the minimum wage should be raised to $14 an hour.’ As Premier Wynne left the stage Asha – also a member of the Health and Strength group in South Riverdale (and part of the campaign) walked up to Premier Wynne and gave her the information from our campaign. The picture below shows Asha, Debbie and friends celebrating afterwards.

Premier Wynne insulates herself from the reality of poverty in Ontario. ‘Charitainment’ events like Sounds of the Season add padding to her insulation. CBC Toronto Sounds of the Season gives Premier Wynne a platform where she can laugh and compare the size of her donation to the mayor’s – and avoid talking about the real comparison – how charity will never meet the needs of people who are poor.

It’s hard for people who are poor to make direct contact with the Premier and demand serious action on poverty.

But Debbie and Asha did exactly that. And hundreds of people in the CBC auditorium saw it. And thousands heard it on the radio.

Congratulations Debbie and Asha.

Image by the Put Food in the Budget campaign
Image by the Put Food in the Budget campaign
Image by the Put Food in the Budget campaign
Image by the Put Food in the Budget campaign

Find us on Facebook

#pfib   @putfoodinbudget

Please download their Discussion paper here.

Please click here to fill in their online survey regarding “who banks on food banks?”

3 http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/getmedia/72208e88-a65b-4a91-9e5f-fbb2b574255b/Food-Banks-and-the-Dependence-Myth_final_June-2014.pdf.aspx?ext=.pdf
4 http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/getmedia/76907192-263c-4022-8561-73a16c06dd2f/HungerCount_2014_EN_HR.pdf.aspx
5 http://www.oafb.ca/tiny_mce/plugins/filemanager/pics_cms/61/261/2013_Hunger_Report_-_Final.pdf
6 http://www.dailybread.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Whos-Hungry-Report-2014.pdf
7 http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/getmedia/76907192-263c-4022-8561-73a16c06dd2f/HungerCount_2014_EN_HR.pdf.aspx
8 http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/Media/News-Releases/All-Foods-Fit-Food-Banks-Canada-Statement-on-the-T.aspx
9 http://www.incomesecurity.org/documents/OWandODSPratesandOCBasofSeptOct2014.pdf
10 http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/09/26/growth_of_inequality_in_canada_cannot_be_denied.html

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