Canadian Association of Food Banks

Canadian Association of Food Banks

November 08, 2007 11:00 ET

Food Bank Use Remains Unacceptably High

New Study Shows Over 720,000 Canadians, 39% of Them Children, Currently Rely on Emergency Food Programs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 8, 2007) - The HungerCount 2007 report was released today by the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB). In March 2007 alone, 720,231 individuals were assisted by community food banks in Canada. Food banks provided 2,344,462 meals to people in need during the same time period.

The need for food bank assistance exists in every province and territory. It exists in Canada's growing cities, and in small rural and northern communities. Need is greatest among the unemployed, but also affects people with low-wage jobs.

"Nearly 20% of people assisted by food banks report having jobs or utilizing Employment Insurance. This is a sad reality when we live in such a prosperous country," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of the CAFB. "More must be done to address the needs of Canada's poorest citizens. We all have a responsibility, including government, to take a more comprehensive approach to reducing hunger in Canada."

For the first time, HungerCount 2007 surveyed the housing situations of those assisted by food banks. Findings indicate that 85.9% of recipients are renters. 7.7% of people who relied on food assistance own their own homes - jumping to 16.7 % in towns with populations of less than 10,000.

Ed Borkowski, Chair of the CAFB Board of Directors, commented on the report: "It is very concerning that 39% of individuals served by food banks are children under age 18. 51% of assisted households contain at least one child. Children experiencing hunger are at risk of a range of negative developmental outcomes. These include behavioural problems, poor school performance, and mental health issues. We have the ability to ensure the food security of all Canadian families, but we need leadership from federal and provincial governments."

Food bank use has remained above 700,000 individuals per month since 1997. It is 91% higher than in 1989, when the first HungerCount survey was performed.

HungerCount 2007 calls for the development of integrated and flexible policies that support more secure incomes, and that increase the ability of Canadians to provide basic needs for themselves and their families.

For a full copy of the HungerCount 2007 report, and for more information, please visit

About the Canadian Association of Food Banks

Founded in 1985, the Canadian Association of Food Banks (CAFB) represents a national network of regional and community food banks, including provincial associations and food sharing distribution centres. CAFB is the voice of food banks in Canada, with members and their respective agencies serving approximately 90% of people accessing emergency food programs nation-wide. In 2006, the CAFB moved over 8.5 million pounds of food industry donations to its members through the National Food Sharing System, the dollar value equivalent of $17 million. In addition to food received from the CAFB, community-run food banks rely primarily on volunteers to collect and distribute an estimated 150 million pounds of food per year. CAFB conducts research, engages in public education and advocates for public policy change to eliminate the causes of hunger and food insecurity in Canada. While CAFB provides food daily for people in need, its ultimate goal is a hunger-free Canada.

About the HungerCount Survey

Initiated in 1989, HungerCount is the only national survey of emergency food programs in Canada. The information the survey provides is invaluable, forming the basis of many CAFB activities throughout the year. Among many benefits, HungerCount allows CAFB to operate the National Food Sharing System on a "fair share" basis, present accurate, timely information to donors and media, and represent members' key concerns at a variety of public forums.

Contact Information

  • CAFB
    Micky Fraterman
    (416) 305-0762 (on November 8, 2007)
    (416) 203-9241 ext. 28