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Food Banks Canada Encourages Canadians to Take Action Against Hunger on World Food Day

TORONTO – October 15, 2010 – On Saturday, October 16, people around the world will be marking the 30th anniversary of World Food Day. The theme for 2010 is “United Against Hunger,” and the goal is to bring attention to efforts made to reduce and prevent hunger around the globe. Food Banks Canada is calling on Canadians to make an impact on hunger locally by supporting their community food banks and other food assistance programs.

In 2009, one billion people experienced hunger globally, and Canada did not escape the problem. Nearly two million Canadians report being food insecure – they often worry about not having enough food, can’t afford to eat the foods they would like, or go without food because they don’t have enough for themselves and their families. 1 Each month, nearly 800,000 Canadians are assisted by a food bank – 37% of those helped are children. 2

Canadian food banks provide what has become an essential service in their communities. Not only do they offer food to those in need, many also provide services and supports such as nutrition education, referrals to other community services, and assistance in the search for employment, affordable housing, child care and health services. Food banks are, for many, the first step on a path back to financial health – they allow those experiencing difficulty to stop, take a breath, and make a plan to get back on track.

Unfortunately, with the effects of the 2008-09 recession still being felt across the country, food banks are struggling to meet the increased need for their services. Food bank use grew by 18% from 2008 to 2009 – the largest year-over-year increase on record – and we are hearing across the country that food banks continue to assist individuals and families at higher-than-normal levels.

On World Food Day, Saturday, October 16th, Canadians can take a number of actions to address hunger in Canada and around the world:

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85% of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. We continue to work to find short term and long term solutions for the close to 800,000 hungry Canadians who are assisted by a food bank every month.

About World Food Day

Launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the goal of World Food Day is to raise awareness of those living with food insecurity around the world.

1 Health Canada (2010). Household food insecurity in Canada in 2007-2008: Key statistics and graphics. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

2 Food Banks Canada (2009). HungerCount 2009. Toronto: Food Banks Canada

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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)