A troubling report out of Toronto suggests food bank usage has increased to near 2008 recession-like levels, and London could be in a similar boat.
The report states the average length people are relying on food banks in Toronto have increased to 24 months in 2017, double what it was in 2010.
“When you look at seniors, we (London Food Bank) have noticed a 9 percent increase in the past year of those coming, and a 29 percent increase from two years ago,” says Jane Roy, the Co-Executive director of the London Food bank.
Senior citizen’s in London are the smallest proportion of food bank users, but are the fastest-rising age group to rely on them.
“I’m not sure what exactly is causing them to come to us (London Food Bank), but I do think that with older age, it gets harder for seniors to keep jobs, and it’s almost impossible for seniors to be retrained and hired elsewhere,” says Roy.
Roy says the London Food Bank’s statistic of 1 in 4 adults aged 29-50 being out of work is deeply concerning.
“These are the people who are carrying families, and if they can’t afford to put food on the table, what you’re going to see is an inevitable increase in food bank usage among all age groups in London,” says Roy.
“People are falling through the cracks in this city. All levels of government need to work together to help Canadians afford to pay their bills, or they will forever be impoverished.”
Other than an increase in Seniors, Roy says the total number of food bank users among other age groups is relatively the same as last year.