Soaring housing and grocery costs are placing extraordinary strain on the population and, by extension, on the agencies that provide food assistance. In constant contact with workers in the field, our Social Development team has reported a concerning situation. Expressed needs have been exacerbated by the post-pandemic situation and unprecedented inflation. To provide support in this unprecedented time, we are announcing an additional investment of $1.7 million in 36 agencies in the Centraide of Greater Montreal network.
In addition to inflation—which means less food for the same money—, labour shortages also complicate operations. The directors of community agencies have also pointed out that low wages in their sector make it difficult to hire and keep employees.
The people turning to food banks increasingly include the working as well as asylum-seeking individuals and families, a clientele that has grown exponentially since the summer of 2022 due to a staggering surge in this population.
Food insecurity on the rise
Food insecurity is growing in Quebec, with Montreal being the territory most affected. In addition to field data that Centraide collects on increased needs, other signals also point to a worrying food security situation:
- About 671,000 people in Quebec get food assistance every month, which is 10% more than in 2021 (610,000 people) and 34% more than in 2019 before the pandemic (500,000 people).
- One in four people on the Island of Montreal is in a situation of food insecurity. This is the highest rate in Quebec. These people have to limit their food intake to meet other basic needs, such as paying rent.
- Food banks have seen a record number of requests for assistance in Quebec (over 2 million monthly).
- According to data from the 211 service, most food assistance follow-up conducted in 2022 in Greater Montreal was for asylum seekers and refugees.
Need for ad-hoc support
This additional investment of $1.7 million will enhance and support the agencies in our network that provide food security services and that act locally in various sectors to meet growing current needs.
Concretely, this investment will go toward:
- Purchasing food and other necessities
- Purchasing or renting equipment and materials
- Transporting and distributing food
- Expanding food assistance to more people
- Hiring temporary staff to compensate for the lack of volunteers
This crucial assistance is on top of the $7.1 million that we already allocate every year to over 100 agencies, making it the largest food-security funder in Greater Montreal after governments.
The agencies that will receive this funding are:
The ad-hoc assistance will be provided over a one-year period. The generosity of people who give to Centraide of Greater Montreal allows us to take action and provide support in real time where needs are greatest.
1 out of 5 people receives our help.
5 out of 5 people benefit from it.
Let’s all lend a hand
Supporting a network of over 375 community agencies also means promoting an inclusive, poverty-free society.