Community Frugal Crowd Health & Wellness Videos

‘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.

Community Frugal Crowd Health & Wellness Videos

Put Food in the Budget: Please Urge Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to Raise Social Assistance Rates Now!

This video (May 27, 2013) presents “Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, announces social assistance plans at City Hall in Windsor.”

  • Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the City of Windsor’s Employment and Training Services today to highlight the government’s commitment to transforming social assistance, helping people keep more of their hard-earned money while entering the workforce.

  • In the 2013 Budget, the government laid out its plan to move forward on implementing key recommendations from the Lankin-Sheikh report by creating a $200 monthly earnings exemption for people who receive benefits from Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

  • The government would also increase social assistance rates, create more inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities and work to reduce poverty rates in Ontario.

  • The 2013 Budget is designed to create jobs and help people in their everyday lives. By taking steps to remove barriers to employment, the government wants to make it easier for more social assistance recipients to enter the workforce and ensure that everyone in Ontario is treated fairly.

Hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents in Canada do not have enough to eat each month and, thus, are forced to go to food banks every month because of inadequate incomes.

Since 1970 the middle class is shrinking as poverty is growing in Toronto.

Here are some statistics on food banks in Canada.

  • 900,000 Canadians used food banks in 2010.
  • 50 percent of people who need food banks stay away out of shame.
  • $6.6 billion is the annual estimated cost of unhealthy eating in Canada.
  • 38 percent increase in the number of working poor in Canada between 1998 to 2008.
  • More than 10,000 people have completed the Do the Math campaign highlighting inadequate welfare rates.

The Toronto Star gives the following statistics regarding who’s on social assistance as of June 2012.

  • Ontario Works (OW)
    • 477,339 individuals, or about 3.6 per cent of the population;
    • 171,867 are children;
    • average age: 36;
    • 60 per cent of cases are singles;
    • 30 per cent are single parents;
    • 3 per cent are couples without children;
    • 8 per cent are couples with children; and
    • about 75 per cent of children are in families led by single parents.
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

    • 415,338 individuals or about 3.1 per cent of the population;
    • 43 percent of applicants have a physical disability;
    • 39 percent have a mental disability;
    • 18 percent have a developmental disability;
    • about 60 percent of new applicants in 2009-10 were suffering from mental illness;
    • 59,403 are children;
    • average age: 46;
    • 77 per cent are singles;
    • 9 per cent are single parents;
    • 8 per cent are couples without children;
    • 6 per cent are couples with children; and
    • just over half of children are in families led by single parents.

In the following letter, Put Food in the Budget is asking for our help to urge Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to immediately raise social assistance rates to levels that ensure lives of health and dignity.


A Thanksgiving Message

Here is a Thanksgiving message to you from Yvonne Kelly, Chair, York Region Do the Math Working Group, and Program Coordinator, YORK REGION FOOD NETWORK in Ontario, Canada:

Do the Math Challenge Event:    October 4th-8th

This week in communities across Ontario, community members, leaders and high profile individuals are standing in solidarity with individuals on social assistance, by limiting themselves to a food bank diet for one week.  This is the latest stage in the provincial Put Food in the Budget Campaign for an immediate increase of $100 a month for every adult in Ontario receiving social assistance so that they can afford more healthy food.

The Challenge Event in York Region is being hosted by the York Region Do the Math Working Group which consists of numerous organizations, faith groups, community members, individuals with lived experience of poverty and anti-poverty activists.

Our brave Participants who have volunteered to Take The Challenge include:

Reverend Robin Wardlaw and his wife Rita More, Trinity United Church

Debora Kelly, Editor in Chief, York Region Media Group

Michael and Christine Way Skinner and their five children, St. John Chrysostom Church

Rabbi Martin Steinhouse and his wife Rachel, Am Echad Congregation

To learn more about the Challenge Event please visit our York Region Do the Math Facebook Page found at  York Region Do the Math or  log in to Facebook and Search for the York Region Do the Math Group.  We encourage your comments and feedback. Visit the Discussion, Photos and Events Section for more information on the York Region Challenge and to follow the journeys of our challengers as they are sharing those on Facebook, their own blogs and on twitter. You can also visit to find out more about the Provincial Do the Math Challenge and the Provincial Challenge Team.

Many of you have already taken the Do the Math Survey which can be found at . By doing so you have a chance to declare what you think it costs for an individual to live for one month on social assistance, and compare it to the actual amount that they are eligible for. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, we urge you to do so.

As we approach this Thanksgiving Weekend, we consider this to be the optimum time to raise consciousness about the dire consequences so many of our neighbours find themselves in. Poverty, and hunger in particular, is part of an ongoing way of life for an increasing number of people in York Region, as we discovered throughout the Social Audit Process in the spring of this year.  At the heart of it always, is inadequate income and as a result, lack of access to healthy foods.  We ask that each of you will think about this as you head into this weekend to celebrate a time of sharing, which focuses on food and family.  While many will give to the food banks at this time of year as a way of addressing the issue of hunger in York Region, we implore you to recognize that short term emergency measures will never adequately address poverty – otherwise that would have happened by now.  In actuality, the problem has grown since food banks became the standard response in Ontario in the ‘80s and individuals on social assistance today in 2010 are receiving less real income than they did in 1995.

Thank you in advance for your time, for checking out our website, and for taking the Do the Math Survey.  We hope that we can count on your support for the $100/month Healthy Food Supplement and would be happy to answer any of your questions or to discuss this further.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Yvonne Kelly

Chair, York Region Do the Math Working Group

Yvonne Kelly,  Program Coordinator


(905) 967-0428 EXT. 205