Here is a message from our CEO Nick Saul on Community Food Centres Canada's response to the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to update this page as we get new information.
Canadians are trying to adjust to the realities of life during this pandemic and doing their part to flatten the curve through social distancing. People are working from home, avoiding public places and stocking up on groceries.
But these are not options for Canadians who rely on already inadequate social supports, or those who are precariously employed. They have trouble putting food on the table each and every day. They certainly don't have extra income to prepare for emergencies.
Food insecurity was an urgent problem in Canada even before COVID-19, with 1 in 8 Canadians struggling to put food on the table. It’s now threatening to become a deeper national crisis.
Community Food Centres Canada supports low-income Canadians in 175 communities across Canada. Bringing people together in shared spaces over good food is at the heart of our work. We all look forward to the time when Canadians will again gather with friends and neighbours to share a meal. But right now, the appropriate response is getting food to the many low-income citizens who are being disproportionately affected by the current crisis.
Community Food Centres have suspended community meals and cooking programs and are now focussing on ensuring community members can safely access food through take-away meal programs and enhanced access to food pantries.
Precarious employment and the closure of many businesses means that the number of Canadians who will require emergency food aid will increase exponentially over the coming weeks. To meet this growing need, CFCC will be announcing shortly an effort to raise funds to support Canadians through Community Food Centres and Good Food Organizations across the country. These funds will be used to ensure that our partners can purchase food and supplies to support our most vulnerable neighbours in these unprecedented times.
Our immediate focus is on meeting urgent needs, but we can’t forget that structural inequity is at the core of so many of the challenges that Canadians face. With the COVID-19 crisis, government has an opportunity and responsibility to act decisively to support low-income Canadians. We must address not only current circumstances but look toward long-term solutions. We remain committed to advancing policy recommendations that address the underlying causes of food insecurity and poverty in Canada.