Food insecurity climbs in Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland and Haliburton counties

Halliburton Court The Pine Ridge District Health Unit is reporting that 12.9% of households in the County of Halliburton, 10.2% in the City of Coortha Lakes and 8.7% in Northumberland County are now considered low income. Food banks would love to go out of business and that is not the trend that we are headed towards at this moment. As a result, Northumberland Fair Share Food Bank says the increase in need has become more prevalent throughout the region as time goes on. So in 2023 and our services, we had 668 new food bank users, people that have never used a food bank before, whereas in 20/22 was 271. This year, already in 2024 we've seen more than 400. The HKPR District Health Unit estimates a family of four, two adults and two children would have spent an average of $1184 per month towards eating healthy in 2023. And this household income scenario within the report, if the family earns a minimum wage, they would have spent 28% of their income on food that meets Canada's Food Guide after paying for rent. That would leave them with merely a few $100 to pay for other basic living expenses. The trends that we're seeing now don't set tend to be going away. So we've had unprecedented years, year over year. So even our costs have risen as well because of transportation has risen gas, housing. Obviously, The report also found only 20% of households experiencing food insecurity are using food banks. Lindell crediting that to people being overwhelmed with their new reality. And the whole reason that we're here and that we're community supported is to be there for the people that are facing food insecurity and are making these really difficult decisions. She goes on to say luckily, local donations have not gone down. Global News reached out to the health unit multiple times but did not receive a reply by deadline. According to the report itself, the living wage and the health unit's jurisdiction is $20.60 per hour, but the current minimum wage in Ontario is 1655, and while it's set to increase to 1720 an hour in October, officials say that still falls short. Trisha Mason. Global News.

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