Nova Scotia

Most Nova Scotia food banks see drop in demand

Most food banks in Nova Scotia are reporting a drop in demand, according to a new report by Food Banks Canada.

Feed Nova Scotia cautions the numbers may not indicate increasing prosperity

Most food banks in Nova Scotia are reporting a drop in demand, according to a new report by Food Banks Canada.

The number of people using food banks in Nova Scotia has dropped 7.6 per cent over last year.

However Antigonish, Pictou and Guysborough saw a slight increase in the number of people of using food banks with about a one per cent bump.

Dianne Swinemar, the executive director of Feed Nova Scotia, said the difficulty of finding full-time employment is a major factor in that region.

“You know it's really tough for an individual to go and find that one job that will give them an adequate income, the benefits that need to go along with it so that they can take care of their family,” she said.

Swinemar also cautions the numbers may not be an indication of increasing economic prosperity.

“We don’t know the reason why they’re down so we have to look into that. One hopes it’s down because of people working and [having] adequate income. It could mean that people have actually moved and left the province to find other jobs. The other piece of it is that because the numbers have increased so much over the last number of years -- we’re still a lot higher than we were in 2008 when we went into the last recession. There was a very significant increase and we have not recovered from that yet,” she said.

From a percentage perspective, the largest decrease in food bank use was 13 per cent, which was reported in the Cape Breton region. Swinemar adds that while today's announcement is good news, it is important to acknowledge that the number of Nova Scotians using food banks in March 2013 is still 29 per cent higher than pre-recession usage in March 2008.

Swinemar says 17 per cent Nova Scotia's food bank clients are either unemployed or considered "working poor".

Across the country, the number of people using food banks is down 4.5 per cent. but that still leaves more than 833,000 Canadians relying on the service.

About half of the food banks in the country saw their numbers increase an average of 21 per cent. Which means the other half must have seen their numbers decrease by more than 25 per cent.  .


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