April 3, 2020, Ottawa, Ont. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government will provide funding to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity. These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians, including Indigenous peoples and northern populations.
The $100 million investment is divided as follows:
This funding will be used to purchase food and other basic necessities. It will help these organizations find new, creative ways to reach people in need, so they can continue to carry out their important work while respecting physical distancing guidelines. They will be able to use the funding to buy or rent equipment and other materials to help address the unique needs of the communities they serve and the health-related challenges presented by COVID-19.
Funding will be delivered through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund. The Fund, launched in the summer of 2019, aims to strengthen food systems and facilitate access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations. Currently, more than 360 projects are receiving funding to increase accessibility of healthy, local foods within their communities, including through urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks, and greenhouses.
“Many Canadians rely on food banks and local food organizations to feed their families and find support in hard times,” Trudeau said in a statement. “Now, with more Canadians turning to these supports, and donations and available volunteers decreasing, they need our help more than ever. Today, we are giving food agencies the support they need to keep helping Canadians through this difficult time.”
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said food banks and local food organizations are on the front lines making sure people get essential food support in their time of need.
“I encourage all my fellow Members of Parliament to contact the food security organizations in their region to ensure that the entire country is covered. If necessary, other networks will be added to the list of partners.”
In 2019, there were 1.1 million visits to food banks and 5.6 million meals served on average each month. It is expected that visits to food banks will increase significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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