TORONTO — Here is the third edition of the Terra Podcast, where Blast’s world news reporter Sachin Seth visits a food bank and learns about the people who work and are served there.
Many Food Banks around North America are in dire straits. Since the recession set in, many are finding it harder and harder to secure donations from those hit hard by the global economic downturn.
In major cities like Toronto, food banks have seen close to a 30 per cent increase in clients, but no major increase in donations. Those in need of food are turned away near closing time because supplies run out.
William Shane, a board member at Fort York Food Bank, one of the largest in Toronto, says he’s seen an almost 200 per cent increase in food hampers requested in just five years. The majority of that increase has come since 2007 – the beginning of the recession.
Fort York is by no means a spacious food bank. It’s one of the largest in Toronto in terms of population served, however not in terms of space. Still, Shane tells me it costs more than $90,000 just to keep the lights and heat running. That money comes primarily from donations, save for a small stipend from their mother company that amounts to just a few thousand per year.
Almost one third of Toronto’s entire population visits a food bank every year, an astonishingly large number for a developed North American metropolis. But if you look around, numbers in other major cities across Canada and the U.S. aren’t far off.
I went to Fort York with many questions in an effort to find out how the food bank copes with such large demand. But instead of coming away with answers, I quickly fell in love with the men and women who work there. Their pasts, in some cases heartbreaking, and their ambition, in some cases inspiring.
This is the story of three of the selfless women I met who turned their lives around to give back to the community.
This is the story of Trudy, Janice and Liz.