As Canada struggles with child hunger, food banks are turning to fast food sales

Jocelyn Ondushchuk, deputy director of one of five emergency food banks in Toronto, Canada, says that food banks across the country are “carrying out a lot of fast food sales.” With one in seven…

As Canada struggles with child hunger, food banks are turning to fast food sales

Jocelyn Ondushchuk, deputy director of one of five emergency food banks in Toronto, Canada, says that food banks across the country are “carrying out a lot of fast food sales.”

With one in seven Canadian children living in poverty, the country is grappling with a massive shortage of good-quality food for the most vulnerable children. According to the Canada Food Bank Association, the country’s food banks are currently distributing 54 percent more food than they did in 2013, with 61 percent of eligible families receiving help for the first time in 2018.

But Canadians are increasingly taking action to help families and individuals who desperately need food, especially during the 2018 summer, when the company is traditionally shut down.

The number of summer feeding programs for the hungry grew by 14.5 percent in 2017, from 400 to 459, according to Statistics Canada. Even after most youth in the country leave school for the summer, 3.4 million children are still dependent on food banks for food assistance, according to the Canadian Labour Congress, though a growing number are fighting to break the cycle. While 95 percent of public schools in Canada serve breakfast and lunch to children, nearly one third of children and youth — particularly in lower-income households — do not.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have promised to combat child hunger this summer. But advocates said that will require actions on several fronts, including organizing more food drives for charity and municipalities, and working more closely with food processors to bring fresh, nutritious food to students. In addition, organizations are encouraging parents to register their children for summer programs that provide nutritious food.

“If we’re gonna address it seriously and recognize that poverty creates hunger, we have to start with the most vulnerable,” said Sarah Ramson, executive director of the Conservative Advocacy Network and a former Conservative Party staffer.

Read the full story at CBC News.

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