$678K raised to help feed those in need, but spring drive comes up short of goal in Mississauga


Published May 6, 2024 at 10:28 am

Food Banks Mississauga falls short of spring drive goal 2024.

Officials at Mississauga’s largest food bank are grateful to those who donated a collective $678,000 to the charitable organization’s 2024 Spring Drive, but they’re also gravely concerned the effort wound up more than $120,000 short of its goal.

Of specific worry to those at Food Banks Mississauga who for years have been sounding the alarm to a hunger crisis in the city — and across Ontario and Canada — is that as students will soon be finished classes for summer vacation, families who rely on food programs at schools to help feed youths will be left struggling even more.

In a news release Monday, Food Banks Mississauga, which oversees a network of more than 65 agencies across Canada’s seventh-largest city, said the spring drive raised $678,243, considerably short of the $800,000 goal.

FBM’s 2024 Spring Drive began on March 8 and concluded last Tuesday.

Food bank officials point to the record-setting number of people in Mississauga who use food banks each month as direct evidence that what is already a food insecurity crisis is worsening.

In April, Food Banks Mississauga and its network served 18,340 food bank users, a 29 per cent increase compared to April 2023. A record 19,342 people used FBM agencies in March, the most-ever users in a single month. It marked a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

By comparison, 16,068 people used FBM agencies in March 2023, that figure representing a 61 per cent increase over March 2022.
Meghan Nicholls, CEO of Food Banks Mississauga, said in the news release the need is sharply rising.

“Thank you to our community for continuing to rally behind us to support their neighbours in need. While we did not receive enough donations to meet our goal, the community made valiant efforts to meet the ever-increasing need,” she said. “Food insecurity is worsening as government social assistance program rates are so low that it legislates our neighbours into poverty. Our agency members are sharing with us how they are maxing out and will hit their ceiling soon, as we are all forced to increase our capacity every month. While we advocate for our elected officials to step up and implement policies to bring about long-term, systemic change, I’m grateful for our generous and compassionate supporters who were by our side during the Spring Drive and continue to support their neighbours.”

Food bank officials added that as the weather gets warmer and summer months approach, “school meal programs across the city will shut down as the school year ends. This means that children and families who rely on this consistent food support will go without.”

The charitable organization’s network of agencies and programs provided healthy food for nearly six million meals last year to people in Mississauga facing food insecurity. That number, officials note, is projected to jump to more than 10 million meals this year.

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