OTTAWA — Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau yesterday announced a $30-million top-up for the Emergency Food Security Fund, which supports food banks. The extra money puts taxpayers’ expenditure on the program at $330 million so far during the pandemic.
The additional dollars are being pumped in amid increased demand and fewer resources faced by food banks and local food organizations, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity rates increased over the pandemic, according to the government, with one in seven Canadian households experiencing that reality over a one-month period during the pandemic.
Funding will be divided between Food Banks Canada, Second Harvest, Breakfast Club of Canada, Community Food Centres Canada, The Salvation Army, and La Tablée des Chefs, who in turn will continue their work to distribute it to thousands of local food organizations across Canada. Local organizations will use the funding to purchase and distribute food and other basic necessities to meet the emergency needs of the most vulnerable people. They may also hire temporary help to cope with volunteer shortages and adapt operations to help keep workers, volunteers and recipients safe.
Since it was launched in the opening months of the pandemic, the Emergency Food Security Fund has supported more than 5,000 local food initiatives across Canada, with over 1,100 initiatives directly supporting Indigenous organizations and communities. The Fund has helped to serve healthy, nutritious and culturally diverse meals to millions of people in Canada.
Emergency Food Security Fund recipients will use a portion of the funds to purchase surplus PEI potatoes and redistribute them to local food serving organizations who have expressed the need for this commodity.
“Canada’s food banks and local food organizations have done tremendous work over the past year, as the pandemic continues to worsen food insecurity across Canada. Our government is committed to making sure they receive our support so they can continue to put more food on the table for vulnerable Canadians,” Bibeau said.
Interim Food Banks Canada CEO David Armour expressed his gratitude for the support. “These funds will help food banks from coast to coast to coast provide healthy, nutritious food as the need for their services rises across the country,” he said.
The top-up for the EFSF is part of the additional $140 million outlined in Budget 2021 to help emergency hunger relief organizations meet increased demand and provide nutritious food to more Canadians.