Manitobans accessing food banks in greater numbers: report

Inflation, loss of employment and poor health were key drivers for Manitobans seeking help from food banks, a new report found.

Harvest Manitoba released “Harvest Voices” on Thursday, the organization’s second large-scale survey illustrating how the use of food banks correlates to a broader spectrum of economic instability.

The report was compiled by Harvest Manitoba staff and volunteers by phone, online and in-person from August to October of 2022. Respondents were adult Manitobans registered to receive food support from one of the food banks within the organization’s network.

The survey consisted of 67 questions on demographics, education, income, health and wellness and food insecurity.

This year’s report found food bank usage in Winnipeg has doubled since 2019. It found respondents were predominately female, and about 45 years old, on average.

The organization believes women are overrepresented due to having more part-time, low-paying jobs as compared to their male counterparts, and because they are often the sole or primary provider or caregiver for their children.

Harvest also reported seeing more and more families with children needing support, with the organization serving 15,000 children on average each month.

Another key takeaway – food banks saw a 50 per cent increase in the number of clients with jobs accessing food banks, jumping from 16 per cent to 24 per cent.

Additionally, over 60 per cent of respondents indicated a disability or health condition. Of those, most said this limits their daily activities, while 32 per cent of respondents said it prevented them from working altogether.

The full report can be read on Harvest Manitoba’s website.

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