Beyond Hunger: New national research report by Community Food Centres Canada reveals hidden, devastating impacts of food insecurity
TORONTO, September 29, 2020 | Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) has released a new report that puts a human face on food insecurity in Canada.
Beyond Hunger exposes the realities of what it’s like to live with food insecurity in this country. From poor physical and mental health to the toll on relationships, it’s a gut-wrenching window into how a lack of access to healthy food impacts a person’s whole life.
The report, which surveyed 561 people across the country, includes dramatic first-hand accounts of living with food insecurity. Individuals share how they cope—from not celebrating holidays, to skipping medications because there’s no food to take with them, to isolating to hide the issue from friends and family.
“During the pandemic, food insecurity has increased across the country, making this issue more urgent than ever. With COVID surging, layoffs mounting, and a hard-hit economy, the problem is sure to worsen,” explains Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. “It’s easy to get lost in the numbers, but what really matters is that people all across this country have told us they’re struggling. As a society, we need to listen and take action.”
One community member from Hamilton, ON, told us: “I am constantly thinking about how I’m going to feed my children. It takes up so much head space. It affects my sleep, my mood, and my health. I just think of the activities I could be doing with my family if I didn’t have to spend all my time thinking about food.”
Even before COVID-19, food insecurity affected nearly 4.5 million Canadians. In the first two months of the pandemic, that number grew by 39 per cent. Food insecurity now affects one in seven people, disproportionately impacting low-income and BIPOC communities.
“Beyond Hunger illustrates that food insecurity is about equity and income,” says Saul. “We urgently need a national solution that goes beyond emergency food assistance. We need a solution founded in solid policy that addresses inadequate social programs, systemic racism and precarious employment.”
The report shares human stories and suggests key policy recommendations that can change lives. Given last week’s Throne speech, which referred to upcoming action on food insecurity, income supports, child care, affordable housing, and support for racialized and Indigenous Canadians, now is the time to put these issues front and centre.
We are asking all Canadians to take action: read and share this report and tell your Member of Parliament it’s time to fight food insecurity and poverty in our communities.
Start here at beyondhunger.ca.
Kennedy Sherwood, Community Food Centres Canada | 519-496-3743 | [email protected]