Canada’s inflation rate increase puts more pressure on food banks

There’s no doubt the rise in the cost of living can be felt across the board, but it’s especially tough for those already struggling to make ends meet.

Kirstin Beardsley with Food Banks Canada says as inflation has risen, so has the demand on food banks.

“We’re seeing the need increase in many places across the country significantly,” she told CityNews on Wednesday. “So if you are in a position to support, please do.”

The latest consumer price index report from Statistics Canada shows the rate of inflation rose 4.4 per cent in September — the fastest rate of increase since February 2003.

Statistics Canada says food is the second-largest component of the consumer price index, with Canadians spending about 17 per cent of their expenditures on food from stores and restaurants.

A recent survey from the Angus Reid Institute found the rate of inflation continues to hit many Canadians hard. However, it notes the most economically vulnerable are the most impacted, with 90 per cent of people identifying in this category saying they are struggling to put food on the table.

“When you’ve got people who are already making difficult choices about the food that they feed their families, when the price goes up, they’re having to make impossible choices now about how they spend those funds,” explained Beardsley. “So inflation — the cost of basics, the cost of living — going up, it affects us all and it doesn’t feel comfortable for any of us. But when you’re living on the edge of affordability your life is a whole set of other challenges.”

She says people who seek support from their local food banks are already in a position where they’re making difficult choices.

Beardsley explains a food bank often gives people some of the food they need — the rest is from the supermarket.

“If you’re a mom or a dad with kids, to go into a grocery store and see healthy foods or just the foods your kids will actually eat go up in price, you’re having to make some tough choices about what you can feed your family,” she told CityNews.

Related article: Canada’s inflation rate surged in September

“What we know about parents often is that they will decide to eat less so that they can give their kids more. We don’t want anyone to have to make those kinds of choices,” Beardsley continued, adding children who go to school hungry are less likely to be able to concentrate and learn.

She says those who are able to support their food banks heading into the holidays are needed now more than ever, noting rising inflation rates could mean the difference between being able to have a celebration or not this winter.

“I always say, when we’re thinking of gathering with our families and we are having to think about the cost of a holiday meal, make sure you think about your neighbours in need as well. And know that the food bank system is there to support people,” said Beardsley.

If you need support, you can find a location on the Food Banks Canada website. You can also make a donation to your local food bank, or through the Food Banks Canada website.

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