The latest hunger count is in and it shows more people are turning to food banks across the country.
Three provinces in particular – Saskatchewan, Alberta and Nova Scotia – saw staggering increases.
While the national average of food bank use has jumped 1.3 per cent since last year, it’s increased almost 18 per cent in Saskatchewan.
Since 2008, food bank usage in Saskatchewan has gone up a whopping 77 per cent. That means 31,395 individuals accessed food banks in the province this year, compared to the 17,751 who accessed food banks eight years ago.
- 50 per cent of people who use the food bank are on social assistance
- 14.7 per cent are employed
- 7.6 per cent are on disability-related income supports
- 5.6 per cent are on a pension
None of those statistics are shocking to Regina Food Bank CEO Steve Compton, but he said he is alarmed.
“In general, people don’t envision themselves reaching out to a food bank for support, whether it’s Regina or across the province.”
Sixty-eight per cent of those people live in market level rentals, 14.2 per cent live in social housing and almost seven per cent are homeowners. Homeless people make up only a small number.
“So vulnerable to changes in costs, vulnerable in changes of availability,” Compton said of food bank users who are paying market level rents.
He said the food bank needs support now more than ever.
“When the numbers are going up from a usage point of view, those same economic factors are affecting the people who make donations and support us, as well.”
Compton encourages people to read the latest hunger count and give back however they can, whether it be a food or financial donation, or volunteering.
“If you can make a donation again this year, it’s more important than ever.”