New Democrats demand action on growing number of food bank users

Alarming numbers show 870,000 Canadians using food banks; 80,000 for the first time

As the 2010 Hunger Count reveals a record 870,000 individuals using food banks, New Democrats Poverty Critic, Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie) is demanding an urgent action plan to address this crisis and its underlying causes.

“Over the past two years, food bank use has risen sharply — by more than a 25%. Many lose jobs, exhaust EI, and fall back on inadequate social assistance,” explained Martin. “The food banks are a mirror for a long-standing problem just made worse by the recession. And will get even worse with stimulus programs ending, new spending cuts starting and the government’s refusal to draft a plan for addressing poverty in our communities.”

Food Banks Canada takes a yearly snapshot of food bank users in March. This year’s report shows food bank use grew in every province of the country, with almost one in ten being first time users and 38 per cent children or youth under 18.

The Hunger Count report also lists several recommendations supported by New Democrats, including:

  • a federal plan to eliminate poverty;
  • increasing the Canada Child Tax Benefit,;
  • comprehensive EI reform;
  • housing and child care strategies; and,
  • measures to lift seniors out of poverty.

“This snapshot from thousands of hungry Canadians, and from hundreds of food banks across the country, is telling Stephen Harper to stop writing off so many people with his laissez-faire approach,” concluded Martin.


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