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Canadian food banks struggle as food insecurity rises

The need for food in Canada has not gone away. Quite the opposite—food insecurity challenges have increased nationwide, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a COVID-19 crisis report published by Food Banks Canada, one-third of food banks in Canada recorded an increase in usage compared to pre-pandemic times. Food banks across the country are seeing more people come through their doors to supplement their food needs and feed their families.

As they continue to serve their community, food banks face many challenges, especially during the pandemic. The report, Food Banks and the COVID-19 crisis—A national snapshot, sheds light on their struggles.

By far the biggest challenge identified was a significant decrease in volunteers as governments imposed social distancing requirements and capacity limits. Volunteer work is vital to the successful operation of food banks, and food banks are facing challenges in being able to support their communities with limited help. New protocols around mandatory personal protective equipment posed additional hurdles.

With lockdowns across the country, food donations sharply declined, while supply chain uncertainty drastically increased. According to the report, this has impacted the ability to get food to those that need it when they need it.

Food banks also faced uncertainty and instability around funding as donations from the community declined, and fundraising events they normally depend on were cancelled.

Thankfully, the community and various levels of government stepped up to support food banks across the country, enabling them to continue assisting those with food insecurity challenges.

As the economy begins to recover, concern for food banks remains as the government’s pandemic support programs end. The report highlights that food banks will need even more support once these additional funding programs are no longer available.

Given the ongoing need, our Drive Away Hunger campaign this year takes on a greater meaning to those in our local communities. We need to come together as a firm to help individuals and families across the country, so no one goes hungry.

To donate to Food Banks Canada and help Drive Away Hunger, reach out to your local BDO office or donate online here.

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