MESSAGE FROM NEIL HETHERINGTON, CEO, DAILY BREAD FOOD BANK, AND RYAN NOBLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTH YORK HARVEST FOOD BANK
No one in our community should go hungry. That is the vision that drives us, our partners, and our supporters.
Our food banks and the 200+ frontline agencies we work with see the reality of hunger in Toronto. In the last year, we saw more than 914,000 client visits. This number is down slightly from last year, but the truth is it’s 115,000 more visits than a decade before. The long-term trend is still headed in the wrong direction.
For the past ten years, we have benchmarked the state of hunger against pre-recession levels in 2008. The effects of the financial crisis were felt deeply in our community and that was reflected in a spike in client visits. It has made sense to measure our progress in addressing hunger alongside the broader economic recovery.
We hoped to see hunger and poverty go down in the recovery from the recession. They’ve gone up by 14%.
In Toronto, we have seen nearly a decade of prosperity since the recovery from the global financial crisis. That prosperity has brought improved opportunity, wealth, and well-being to many people, and has helped to support the safety net that buffers against poverty for those of us facing hard times.
But too many in our community have only experienced this prosperity as higher rents, soaring costs of childcare, increased energy costs and other cost-of-living pressures which make it a struggle to stay afloat. For them, it has been getting harder, not easier to access food. This is unacceptable. Access to food is a basic human right.
This report doesn’t just look at our progress. It also looks ahead to where we need to be. When we release Who’s Hungry 2028, we need to see a different picture. The end of hunger in our community has to be within reach. We need to see a time when no one goes hungry.
If we are going to get there, it will depend on choices that we make today. At Daily Bread and North York Harvest, we are working with our member agencies on new ways to ensure people facing hunger have access to quality food. We are each responding to the changing geography of hunger in Toronto by designating 20 underserved neighbourhoods and committing to increase the amount of food serving these areas by 20%.
Our work is made possible by over 10,000 volunteers each year, with even more at the member agencies serving residents across our city. Ending hunger will require a continued commitment from individuals, communities and government to support our neighbours.