13,850 people who used Mississauga’s main food bank in February represent largest number ever

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Published March 23, 2023 at 12:49 pm

Food Banks Mississauga has record-setting month in October 2023
More people than ever before used Food Banks Mississauga in October. (Photo: Food Banks Mississauga)

Mississauga’s main food bank is breaking records, but it’s not good news.

In fact, the news is alarming, say officials with The Mississauga Food Bank, which in February served more clients, 13,850, than during any other single month in its history.

Even more reason to be concerned, food bank officials note, is that the previous monthly record-high of 13,326 clients was recorded just one month earlier, in January 2023.

A spokesperson for The Mississauga Food Bank, which has a network of more than 50 agencies across the city, said in an email to insauga.com that the January numbers represented a 41 per cent year-over-year increase while the February figures show a 44 per cent increase from the same month in 2022.

“Every month that we are breaking a record is not a cause for celebration, but an alarm bell that we are urgently ringing,” the spokesperson said. “This emergency need is only continuing to rise for our most vulnerable neighbours, and we need the support of our community more than ever.”

Officials say that behind the fast-rising numbers are the names and faces of “more of our neighbours” who are facing hunger.

The record-setting numbers come in the midst of the organization’s annual Spring Drive, which kicked off on March 6 and concludes April 23.

The food bank’s goal is to raise $750,000.

The Mississauga Food Bank is also preparing to move to a much larger facility next week because it needs the additional space to meet the rapidly-growing demand in Canada’s seventh-largest city.

As of April 3, the organization will be located at a 43,000-sq.-ft. facility at 4544 Eastgate Pkwy.

mississauga food bank

The Mississauga Food Bank CEO Meghan Nicholls, shown here addressing Mississauga City council last fall, has been ringing the alarm bell for nearly six months as the city’s main food bank is facing huge demands.

The Mississauga Food Bank CEO Meghan Nicholls, whose organization has seen an almost 60 per cent increase in food bank users from before the COVID-19 pandemic, has appeared before City council on several occasions since last year to “sound the alarm” and talk about the pressing and growing need of the many Mississauga residents who cannot put enough food on the table for their families.

She said the food bank’s new location will help serve clients better.

“Our new, larger space will expand our capacity to store the amount of food required to distribute to our network of over 50 agencies, provide more fresh and frozen food to our community and keep our programs running smoothly,” she said.

Food bank officials in Mississauga have been alerting politicians at all levels of government as more and more city residents need help feeding their families and are falling even deeper into poverty.

Earlier this year, The Mississauga Food Bank joined forces with Food Banks Canada to deliver the urgent message all the way to Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s doorstep.

In a letter to the prime minister, the two agencies asked for immediate action to address the fast-growing problem of food insecurity in Mississauga, the GTA and across the country.

The Mississauga Food Bank’s latest numbers show that it distributed food for more than 5.6 million meals in the last year, and that number is expected to grow.

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