Food bank and other programs are saving many Canadians from having to make the choice to go hungry
The cupboard and fridge are bare, your bank account is depleted, you have exhausted your options, and your children are hungry – where do you go? That’s the question plaguing more and more Canadians in recent months as food prices have skyrocketed and wages have remained relatively stagnant. During the past year, food prices have risen a staggering 9.7%1, causing those who get help from Scott Mission to have to choose between paying their rent or buying food. Inflation has resulted 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 Many people, in an effort to remain housed, make the horrible choice to go hungry, but thankfully, because of the Scott Mission, they don’t have to.
Since 1941, Scott Mission has been the place that countless people have turned to for support and practical help when they are at their most vulnerable. The Scott Mission offers programs like an emergency shelter, hot meal programs, a clothing bank, and a food bank to help those in the GTA that are facing poverty. Scott Mission builds wellness through a variety of mental health and spiritual care programs, however, economic need is escalating among community members. With inflation at a 30-year high, the demand for the food bank is higher than ever, rising 20% in 2022 alone, and remaining 30% higher than pre-COVID levels. “Inflation has been really hard for families. We are hearing from our clients that their cupboards are bare, and they have nothing to feed their children, so they turn to us for help. We serve between 150-250 families per day,” says Peter Duraisami, CEO of Scott Mission.
Despite the volume of clients accessing the food banks at Scott Mission’s 502 Spadina and 1550 O’Connor locations, the process is designed with dignity and choice for clients first and foremost. “Clients make appointments to come and pick up food, are greeted by staff on arrival, check in, and then proceed to several different stations to receive the food that they need (bread, grains, produce, canned goods, etc). Clients are able to choose the products and produce they like, with healthy options available for all. We aim for clients to experience a safe, peaceful, and friendly experience,” explains Cynthia Laton, Manager of The Welcome Centre.
“Our service-based programs are crucial to what we do,” says Peter Duraisami. “Our mission is to be a compassionate neighbour to those around us and share the love of Jesus with everyone. Jesus always took care of people’s immediate needs, such as sickness or hunger, as well as tending to their spiritual needs. We model that through our programs. A bag of groceries is not just food, it’s a sign of hope and love to someone in need.”
With inflation at a 30-year high and more people than ever just barely getting by or not getting by at all, Scott Mission’s services are more important than ever, and they can’t do it alone. “We can’t do it by ourselves. We need partners and donors to bring hope and transformation to those in need,” says Peter Duraisami.
To learn more about Scott Mission’s programs and to partner in their work by donating, please explore our How We Help section. “Scott Mission’s clients could be you and me before something goes wrong,” says Peter. “With your help, we can continue to be Toronto’s compassionate neighbour to all who need it.”
1 “Rising prices are affecting the ability to meet day-to-day expenses for most Canadians,” Statistics Canada, accessed September 1, 2022, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220609/dq220609a-eng.htm
2 “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 Name has been changed for privacy