Here in Canada, the faces of food insecurity have changed in recent years. The convergence of soaring inflation rates, persistent income inequalities, and insufficient social assistance programs has reshaped the profile of those most impacted by this issue. Today, food insecurity predominantly affects income-generating households.
According to 2022 data from Statistics Canada, food insecurity affects 6.9 million Canadians in the ten provinces, including almost 1.8 million children. That’s up from 5.8 million in 2021, including 1.4 million children. These estimates do not include data from the territories, but numerous studies show that Nunavut is the most food-insecure region in our country.
To effectively address complex and systemic issues such as food insecurity, you need to adopt a comprehensive approach that engages policymakers, community advocates, and the voices of vulnerable populations. Without evidence-based policy interventions that aim to better support household incomes, millions of vulnerable Canadians will remain reliant on food banks for support.
That’s why it is crucial for businesses and community members to take a strong stance in advancing critical movements like food security. One such organization is Toronto- based Daily Bread Food Bank, which not only provides neighbourhood food banks and meal programs but also conducts essential research, implements program initiatives, and raises public awareness with a focus on achieving long-term food security solutions.
As proud recent donors to Daily Bread and passionate supporters of food and water access in Nunavut, The Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation is actively working with like-minded organizations that share their commitment to creating sustainable, lasting impacts for those who need it most.
As part of their ongoing campaign, the Foundation urges everyone to get involved — even a single random act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life. There are numerous ways in which individuals and businesses can target this problem and contribute to positive change, including:
- Learn and educate others about the landscape of food insecurity in your own city, and what can be done here in Canada. There are plenty of resources out there toget started, such as the University of Toronto’s PROOF research program: https://proof.utoronto.ca
- Collaborate. Reach out to friends, co-workers, and other community members.Get a conversation going about food insecurity and ways you can help within your local community. Surround yourself with people who not only believe in the same change you do but bring unique voices and experiences to the table.
- Engage in community gardens and urban farming. Support initiatives that encourage sustainable and locally sourced food production, reducing dependence on external food sources.
- Get strategic with food waste. Take steps to minimize food waste in your own household or place of business by planning meals, practicing proper storage, and supporting initiatives that redistribute surplus food to those in need.
- Contribute goods to organizations helping people experiencing food insecurity as a result of poverty or disaster.
- If you own a business, check to see if any of your own employees are experiencing food insecurity. At first glance, this may seem preposterous to you, but food insecurity is highly stigmatized, especially for children in dysfunctional households. Make it easy for your workers to reach out, and keep your employees informed of programs that are available to them through provincial, federal and local agencies.
- Encourage your employees to volunteer and make it easy for them to do so.
By actively participating in these initiatives, both individuals and businesses can play a significant role in combatting food insecurity and creating a brighter future for everyone. Together, we can make a lasting impact and ensure that no one goes hungry in our communities.