Food Insecurity in BC
Food banks started operating in 1981 as a temporary measure to provide relief to a small number of people experiencing financial hardship. Over 40 years on, the need for food banks in BC has never been greater than it is today.
With 382,000 British Columbians living in poverty according to the Market Basket Measure, B.C. currently has the second highest poverty rate (tied with two other provinces) in the country. This number includes 43,000 children in low-income families and 36,000 seniors.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the affordability crisis have had a devastating impact on the household budgets of hundreds of thousands of British Columbians. This has resulted in people turning to food banks and other hunger relief supports in record numbers. Combined with the impact of climate change in creating emergency food access and significant challenges for BC’s farmers and producers, it is clear to see how creating dignified access to food, reducing food insecurity, and strengthening our food systems have to be prioritized. Food Banks BC is committed to this work.
The Hunger Count
Since 1997, Food Banks Canada has conducted the HungerCount, a cross-sectional, census-type survey of most food bank agencies, organizations and programs within and outside of the Food Banks Canada network.
The HungerCount provides a national snapshot of what’s happening on the frontlines of the country’s food banks; how many people are using the services, who’s accessing food banks, and why. This information is critical in helping us understand the trends of food bank usage and the policy recommendations that will move us towards tackling hunger and reducing food insecurity in BC.
Read the 2023 HungerCount report here.