Food banks are often stigmatizing, difficult to access and offer little choice, no wonder only about a quarter of those who meet the objective criteria of food insecurity ever went to a food bank. Struggling Canadians need sufficient income to feed themselves now and in the post-pandemic future, write Elaine Power, Jennifer Black and Halifax’s Jennifer Brady.
Food banks are a wonderful institution, and in these times of austerity-induced suffering they need our full support. That said, food banks are not very efficient in getting food to hungry families. “We found that most food-insecure households delayed bill payments and sought financial help from friends and family, but only 21.1% used food banks,” the authors of a recent study state.
We interview food security expert Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, who will be visiting Nova Scotia later this week. She talks about hunger counts that don’t count hunger, food banks that don’t solve food insecurity, and income thresholds that don’t reflect it. Also, why people who are food insecure get sick so much, even if the illness has nothing to do with diet. And finally, what we should do to fix the problem.
This weekend video actually started as a story published in the Nova Scotia Advocate, written by a mother who wanted to tell how being on welfare affected her and her children, the stigma she faced, and how it can happen to anyone.
In this powerful video Nova Scotians who know about welfare first hand are asked to describe Income Assistance in three words. It takes them all of 49 seconds to tell us that social assistance in Nova Scotia is broken.
MLAs have lots of helpful suggestions for Feed Nova Scotia. “Let me tell you, couponing gets you a lot of stuff for very little money,” Liberal MLA Joyce Treen told Feed Nova Scotia’s executive director. Meanwhile, government is giving the organization that distributes 7,000 kilograms of food all cross Nova Scotia daily all of $12,000.
At the Nova Scotia Advocate we hate food banks with a vengeance. It is also one of our favourite charities. Let Glenn tell you why. Check it out, it only takes a couple of minutes.
Food bank use in Nova Scotia spiked 20.9% over last year—the highest increase among provinces in the country. It’s also a 40.9% increase over 2008. It’s also the new normal. Hard to believe there was a time nobody even knew what a food bank was.