Sobering Local Food Security Statistics
There is a perception that food banks primarily serve two kinds of people: those who have temporarily fallen on difficult financial times and those who are mentally or physically challenged and therefore unable to work. The reality is easily lost in the wealth that exists in much of Richmond. Or, perhaps more accurately, lost in the appearance of wealth in Richmond.
In an average week, The Richmond Food Bank distributes food to over 550 households or roughly 2,000 individuals. That’s about 1 person for every hundred people living in Richmond. Last week they served 580 households. Only 15-20% of those individuals are physically or mentally challenged. This is a much lower percentage than many would expect.
This year the Food Bank has seen an increase in the number of senior citizens having to rely on food donations due to rising costs and government cuts. There is a strong possibility that they will be permanently depending on the food bank as seniors are not likely to re-enter the workforce.
Why are so many individuals and families using the food bank? Last year an average family of four (two adults, two children) in the Lower Mainland, needed about $851 per month to purchase a healthy “food basket”. Food security is simply unattainable for many low wage earners or those on fixed incomes. This represents a significant struggle for those individuals and families given today’s food, housing, transportation, and other necessary costs.
Why should you support your local food bank and groups supporting local food security?
- poor pregnancy outcomes
- poor growth and development in children
- learning deficits
- poor school performance
- increased illness and susceptibility to disease for people of all ages
- increased medical costs
- decreased life expectancy
- Mental anguish also troubles food insecure individuals and families.
For a detailed report on the problems and solutions to achieving food security in the province, please take some time to read the 2011 report on the Cost of Eating in BC.
Support your local food bank and those agencies that support food banks on a daily basis.
Statistics in this article provided by: The City of Richmond, The Richmond Food Bank, and the 2011 Cost of Eating in BC Report.