Kitchener-Waterloo

Who uses the food bank in Waterloo Region in 2015

Most of the people accessing The Food Bank of Waterloo Region over the last year are low income individuals or families who live in rental properties.

Annual HungerCount report shows one third of food bank users are children

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region says half of its users are families, many with children. (CBC)

Most of the people accessing The Food Bank of Waterloo Region in the last year are low income people or families who live in rental properties.

That's according to HungerCount 2015, an annual report by Food Bank Canada about who accesses food banks across the country.

In Waterloo Region, 33,723 individuals got food assistance over the last year, representing one in 20 households across the region. Most of those users live in rental properties, with the majority of their income going directly to housing costs. 

"People are working, either full time or part time but the income is inadequate," said Wendi Campbell, executive director of the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. "They cannot get food on the table while dealing with all of the other expenses in life." 

Emergency food use not dropping

Campbell said, since 2008, there has been a 30 per cent increase in requests for emergency food hampers and that half of the households using the food banks are families with children. 

"We saw a big spike in emergency food usage around the time of the recession ... and those numbers have not gone back down," said Campbell. 

Still, Campbell said, on average individuals and families are accessing the food bank only three times a year, usually for a one to two year window. 

"At the same time, we do know there are families who access once a month," said Campbell. "It varies depending on the life situation and how quickly those individuals can get back on track." 

The HungerCount statistics are released annually in November. This year's figures are based on a survey of food bank data in Canada for March of 2015. 

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