Food bank use on the rise: Re­port

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - METRO NEWS - Elisha Dacey

A re­port re­leased by Food Banks Canada shows that food bank use rose by 3.4 per cent in Man­i­toba in 2015 com­pared to 2014.

The 2015 Hunger Count re­port shows that in March of 2015, 63,791 Man­i­to­bans used a food bank to feed them­selves and their fam­i­lies.

March is con­sid­ered an av­er­age month and num­bers are ex­trap­o­lated from there, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Win­nipeg Har­vest ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor David North­cott said the num­bers are more than just sta­tis­tics — they’re peo­ple.

“Th­ese are real peo­ple,” he said. “Each March we count real peo­ple who ac­tu­ally use the food bank.”

Of those peo­ple us­ing food banks, about 42 per cent in Man­i­toba are chil­dren, the sec­ond­high­est in Canada, be­hind only Saskatchewan at 45 per cent. How­ever, this num­ber is down slightly year-over-year in Win­nipeg and North­cott said they re­gard it as a vic­tory.

“When you see fewer kids us­ing th­ese food pro­grams, that means they’re be­ing treated bet­ter in other ar­eas, the fam­i­lies are get­ting a bit stronger.”

The re­port makes sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions to bring food bank use down, in­clud­ing abol­ish­ing so­cial as­sis­tance and in­stead im­ple­ment­ing a liv­ing wage, tax re­forms, and con­tin­u­ing to build af­ford­able hous­ing.

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