A bite of information | Blog
Who Uses The Food Bank?
We are often asked who is using the food bank and what does a food bank client look like?
The face of hunger can be anyone: our friends, our neighbours, our family. Anyone, from any background, and in every neighbourhood. All sizes of households: wage earners, EI recipients, students and veterans. Because anyone can be one crisis away from having to make the difficult decision between food and rent; or heat; or medical bills; or repair costs.
We know it is important to build a picture of who is coming to the food bank as it often alerts us to changes in the community. For example, in late 2014, we saw an influx of clients indicating that they had been laid-off from their oil and gas industry jobs. A few months later, the media was reporting the downturn in the Alberta economy.
On a national level, Food Banks Canada creates the HungerCount, an annual report about food bank use across the country. What we find are often affirming statistics to what we are seeing in our community, plus insights on the challenges in different parts of the country.
One such statistic that is prevalent across the county and in Calgary is that food bank use by single adults is on the rise. In 2018, single individuals from the age 18 through 65 are either struggling to make ends meet or are among the 115,000 Albertans unemployed without EI benefits.
food bank visitors that are single working-age households nationally
food bank visitors that are single working-age households in Calgary
Even with the decline in child poverty rates, according to Statistics Canada children still bear the brunt of food insecurity. 35% of those who visited a food bank are children, yet make up only 20% of the population nationally.
Children that accessed the Calgary Food Bank. How many is too many?
Number of Children in 2008
Number of Children in 2018
More needs to be done to support Calgarians who are struggling with poverty and the high costs of living. Information gleaned from our monthly and annual statistics along with a look at what is happening provincially and nationally, helps to inform the community. With a shared vision where no one goes hungry, food banks across the country are not only providing food support for Canadians in crisis, they are making recommendations and pushing for change to alleviate the symptoms of poverty.