Household food insecurity is the inadequate access to food due to financial constraints. This serious problem in Canada negatively affects the mental, physical, and social wellbeing of 1 in 8 households across the country, accounting for more than 1.2 million children.
In Canada, household food insecurity is one of the biggest economic burdens to the healthcare system. To put numbers behind this, a recent report from Ontario reveals that this costs our healthcare system an estimated $7.6 billion each year. Indeed, poverty is devastating to the nation as it is for each and every individual caught in its vicious cycle. Currently, 3.2. million Canadians are living below the poverty line and this includes560,000 children. Every day, these individuals face problems such as unmet housing needs, unmet healthcare needs, lack of opportunities, lack of inclusion, and more.
In order to help those in need, Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy has successfully reduced the poverty rate to a historic low of 8.7% progressively between the years 2015 and 2018. Additionally, the efforts of proactive non-profit organizations and helpful individuals also play an important part in providing relief for those suffering from poverty and household food insecurity.
It’s true that we all play a part in the fight against poverty; that’s why our KASE Cares: Parkdale Community Foodbank initiative was formed.
KASE Cares: Parkdale Community Foodbank is one of the many charitable initiatives that we regularly take part in as a team, here at KASE Insurance. We’re always thinking of ways for us to give back to our community, and to many of us on the team, it’s something that we truly look forward to.
KASE Cares: Parkdale Community Foodbank was held on July 12, 2019 where our team went to the Parkdale Community Foodbank to lend a helping hand. Parkdale Community Foodbank is only 1 of 700 food banks across Canada. Every month, there are around 1.1 million visits to food banks across the country. These numbers show us that food banks continue to be essential services within our society. As long as poverty exists, there will be food insecurity.
For all of our charitable initiatives, we choose a cause to focus on based on a careful observation of what our community needs. In early 2019, the poverty rate was decreasing for the country and because of this, we were very excited to do our part. We then chose to address two causes that often go hand-in-hand: poverty and homelessness.
There are various indicators to consider when tackling the country’s ongoing poverty concerns – and food insecurity is only one of them. What’s interesting about this particular indicator is that although the overall poverty rates were decreasing at the time (along with most of the other poverty indicators in Canada’s Official Poverty Dashboard), food insecurity was experiencing an upward trend. In fact, the rate of households reporting food insecurity climbed from 8.3% to 8.7%. We saw this as an opportunity to help.
Food banks are vital for providing relief to individuals suffering from food insecurity – and these organizations will continue to be needed in the community as long as the problems of poverty and homelessness are still present. With this in mind, we got in touch with Parkdale Community Foodbank to help.
For food banks like Parkdale Community Foodbank, donating goods and donating your time to help are equally valuable. Canadian food banks truly rely on such donations in order for them to help meet the needs of the community.
Our team at KASE opted to donate our time as volunteers. As it was our first charitable initiative helping a food bank, we really wanted to be as hands-on as possible. Our volunteers helped unpack boxes, stock goods, and lend a helping hand wherever needed.
It was an eye-opening and fulfilling experience for the whole team. The day was spent helping stock food items, recycling, cleaning, and simply helping out wherever we could. The most rewarding aspect of this initiative was building a connection with the staff, hearing their stories, and having fun as we worked together for a common cause.
We encourage everyone to support a food bank near you; especially if you have the means to give. On top of being able to give back to the community, it’s a great opportunity to meet wonderful people and learn something new.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to show support for food banks by organizing a food drive, through monetary donations, or through volunteering. These organizations are strained due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In such uncertain times, they continue to be leaders in their communities, providing food to people who are suffering from poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity.