As Thanksgiving approaches and we marvel in the bounty of the harvest and celebrate with friends and family, it can be hard to believe that more than 100,000 Mississauga residents live in poverty.
Over the last year, The Mississauga Food Bank recorded a 13 per cent increase in the number of clients accessing their network of neighbourhood food banks, meal programs and other sources of emergency food.
Why are people going without food? There are a number of complicating factors, but essentially, here are the contributors.
• Unaffordable housing: on average, Mississauga Food Bank clients are spending 64 per cent of their monthly income on housing, while the definition of ‘affordable housing’ is spending less than 30 per cent of monthly income. What!? Paired with the ever-climbing cost of living? It’s become nearly impossible to survive without help.
• Insufficient income: Faced with a tough job market filled with low-paying, part-time and/or temporary contracts, clients can barely cover basic costs, much less build up a safety net for emergencies. FYI: The average income of a Mississauga food bank client is $1379 per month.
• One of the fastest growing sectors of those needing food banks are seniors. In the last two years, the number of visits by seniors has increased by 52 per cent, due to fixed incomes paired with increased medical expenses, decreased mobility and perhaps losing a spouse.
How can we help?
Let’s run a food drive! It takes all of us to feed our hungry neighbours. Look Local Mississauga is holding a drive and fundraiser and you can, too. Check out themississaugafoodbank.org for Food Drive Guidelines and a Step-By-Step Guide. You’ll also find creative drive ideas that will inspire you to get to work—and have fun while you’re doing it.
• Local partnerships go a long way. Ask a local business to help with organizing an event. What do you have to lose?
• Get the word out: Once you’ve set the date, time, and theme for your event, put together a poster or event page. Send it to your friends and family—and to firstname.lastname@example.org—and ask us to share it online.
• Consider fundraising online: Online donations are much easier to manage than heavy cans and boxes and for every $1 you raise, TMFB can distribute food for two meals!
DON’T FORGET! Share photos of your food drive by tagging
@themississaugafoodbank on Instagram or @Food_Bank on Twitter.