FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa (ON) – The Ottawa Food Bank reports the highest service numbers in its 38-year history. March 2022 service figures reveal a 39% increase in demand from local food banks compared to 2017. March figures also indicate a 20% increase in services compared to the same period last year.
“These are unprecedented times. With an increase in the number of people needing access to a food bank for the first time, March 2022 is the busiest month we have seen in terms of people served and visits to food support programs,” said Rachael Wilson, CEO of the Ottawa Food Bank. “Despite natural disasters, a global pandemic and the rising cost of inflation, the daily operations of the Ottawa Food Bank continue to However, we are not sure of the sustainability of our sector if the numbers continue to increase at this rate.
The food bank was originally designed to provide temporary emergency support in times of exceptional need. Figures from the last five years indicate a continued need in the local community. The Ottawa Food Bank and its network of over 100 member agencies provide food support and complementary services to tens of thousands of people, year after year.
Care Center Ottawa, a member of the Ottawa Food Bank network, originally offered food support among many other community services. However, general manager Lisa Fabian explains that they had to change their programming to focus exclusively on food due to overwhelming demand. “In February 2020, before the start of the pandemic, we served approximately 220 families per month. Last March, we served over 1,050 families – the highest number since the care center opened. We continue to see several new families coming to the care center each day and it has been difficult to keep up with the growing demand. Generally, our shelves are stocked to meet the varied needs of our customers. This spring, the increase in demand has forced us to organize many additional deliveries from the Ottawa Food Bank to simply stock the basic necessities.
To ensure food security, food banks need commitment and predictable support from municipal, provincial and federal governments. “Food security is not just about improving access to healthy food; we must continue to advocate for systemic changes that put food banks out of business,” says Wilson. “There is a critical need for government intervention. Legislated poverty can be ended by making housing affordable, ensuring social supports keep pace with the cost of living, and providing decent jobs for all.
– 30 –
About the Ottawa Food Bank:
The Ottawa Food Bank is the leading emergency food provider in the National Capital Region, working in partnership with a network of 108 community food programs to provide food and supplies to tens of thousands of people every month, 36% of whom are children. With a focus on fresh, and thanks to community support, an average of 12-14 tons of food is distributed from the 1317 Michael Street warehouse each weekday.
For media inquiries or to book an interview, please contact:
Alex Noreau, Acting Director of Communications, Ottawa Food Bank
[email protected], 613-745-7001 ext. 13