The use of food banks in New Brunswick has grown by 19 per cent since the start of the recession in 2008, according to a new report.

That comes from the Food Banks of Canada's annual report, called the Hunger Count, a study on food bank use.

The national use of food banks has grown by 26 per cent.

The numbers in N.B.

  • Women: 49.7 per cent
  • Post-secondary students: 1.7 per cent
  • Adults who are 65 +: six per cent
  • Aboriginal persons: 2.1 per cent
  • Immigrants or refugees: 1.5 per cent
  • Single-parent families: 21.8 per cent
  • Two-parent families: 19.3 per cent
  • Single people: 43.6 percent

Katharine Schmidt, executive director of Food Banks Canada, said she expects food bank use will continue to grow, because the dynamics of employment in this country has changed.

"We moved from a lot of higher quality jobs in manufacturing and forestry and fishery, we're replacing them with jobs but typically the replacement jobs are service industry jobs which pay less. they're often part time, temporary, no benefits."

She said the data from the report is useful when it's time to approach government with recommendations.

She said right now, one of the key recommendations for government is investing in affordable housing.

"We hear from food banks each and every day that the challenge for people in why they're coming for food is the cost of housing and that percentage that's going into housing, it's a huge chunk," she said.

She said another is improving employment insurance, especially for older workers who lose their jobs and have a hard time getting back to work.

Schmidt said this past year 850,000 Canadians went to food banks during the month of March.

She said the statistics don’t tell the full story.

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Across Canada use of food banks has grown by 26 per cent ((Jim Young/Reuters))

"Keep in mind in some cases that's because for your province your numbers were probably higher than some other provinces that may have in terms of economics been doing a bit better."

In New Brunswick, Schmidt said more than 18,500 people rely on food banks each month. About 34 per cent of those are children.

"It's unacceptable ... we need to look at this issue, come together as a nation and figure it out," she said.