by Peter Duraisami, CEO
Our Food Bank services give us a front-line view of the impact of inflation-driven rising grocery prices. Experts warn that the grocery cost increase of 5-7% this year will keep climbing as we all face supply chain issues and rising costs of PPE and sanitation due to COVID-19.1 Inflation will result in an average family of four spending roughly $1000 more on groceries in 2022.2 An extra $1000 per year might not seem like a lot of money to some people, but when over half of all Canadians are left with only $200 or less per month once they pay all of their expenses, affording food is a critical strain for too many.3 At the beginning of COVID, I wondered if families would still be taking the risk of public transit to our foodbank locations at 502 Spadina and 1550 O’Connor, or if they would hunker down to alternatives, but within weeks I found the numbers needing groceries were only increasing at Scott Mission.
Food insecurity is not new. Canada’s last census in 2018 revealed that 1 in 8 households are food insecure 4Here at Scott Mission, we are doing our part to combat food insecurity through our life-giving programs and food banks. We host a daily hot breakfast and lunch program at our main location in downtown Toronto, as well as a daily bag lunch program for clients to take away. I often take our cue from the generous example of Jesus who fed 5000 with abundance left over, all from the example of a young boy who partnered with Jesus to share his lunch.5 For over 80 years we have seen the faithfulness of God to keep our food supply steady for those at risk.
Scott Mission 2021 Food Program Stats
34,889 grocery orders filled*
*The demand increased 11% from pre-COVID levels.
126,137 hot meals served (breakfasts, lunches, shelter dinners)**
**The demand for lunches increased 30% from pre-COVID levels
Many of our clients at Scott Mission have revealed to me over the years that they are often faced with the awful decision between paying rent or buying food. In order to remain housed, they seek out food programs like ours to help feed their families when they cannot afford sufficient food, and they are hiding in plain sight: the mom that skips a meal so her kids can eat, the kid who ‘forgets’ their lunch, the coworker that never eats on their lunch break.
“Money is low at the end of the month and food is very expensive right now in the stores, so it helps to come here… We feel grateful to have people to help the low-income families.”
~ Tatiana, a regular client ~
Here at TSM, we continually strive to help fight food insecurity and meet people’s basic needs. Clients get practical relief from their concerns about whether they will have food that day or if their children will go hungry. We are committed to providing high-quality healthy food for those in need and expanding the hot meal and food bank programs, but we can’t do it without the support of donors. Food, volunteers, and money to pay for supplies are always appreciated as we work to meet the needs. Please join with us to help care for those struggling with food insecurity, by clicking on the donate button below. Your support is most appreciated.
1 “Canada’s Food Price Report 2022,” Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University, accessed March 22,2022, https://www.dal.ca/sites/agri-food/research/canada-s-food-price-report-2022.html.
3 “Over Half (53%) of Canadians Within $200 of Not Being Able to Cover Their Bills and Debt Payments, Up 10 Points Since December Reaching a Five-Year High,” GlobeNewswire, April 8, 2021, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/04/08/2206577/0/en/Over-Half-53-of-Canadians-Within-200-of-Not-Being-Able-to-Cover-Their-Bills-and-Debt-Payments-Up-10-Points-Since-December-Reaching-a-Five-Year-High.html.
4 “PROOF’s research shows that food insecurity is a policy decision that requires income-based interventions to solve,” Proof, accessed March 22, 2022, https://proof.utoronto.ca/.
5 Matthew 14: 13-21 The Bible