A Message from our Board Chair & CEO
We’ve all experienced another year of living through a pandemic, and what a year it has been! Because of YOUR generosity, we were able to deliver an unbelievable amount of food this year – the most we’ve ever seen in our 35-year history!
We invite you to read our special 2-in-1 Face of Hunger Impact Report which shares how our team was able to rapidly expand operations when the pandemic hit, and make our organization more efficient and effective. Your generosity enabled The Mississauga Food Bank to distribute over 4.2 million pounds of food through our network of over 50 agencies. That’s food for over 4.6 million meals which is a 58% increase from last year!
You can also find a detailed profile on the face of hunger in Mississauga and ways our community must come together to advocate for long-term structural solutions and systemic change to reduce poverty.
While the economy has started to recover from the pandemic, poverty continues to be widespread and longer-lasting as our community works through the long term effects of the pandemic.
From June 2020 – May 2021, almost 26,000 unique individuals visited a food bank in Mississauga – almost 7,000 of whom were first-time food bank users. They made over 160,000 food bank visits which is a 14% increase from last year.
Meet Jonathan, one of our clients who was a first-time food bank user over the last year.
He recently shared with us how you’ve helped make a difference for his family.
“We’ve both been periodically out of work for over a year since March 2020, so the food bank has been a tremendous help and has taken a lot of stress off of us. This week of groceries that we’re about to get is going to be a big help. We can have lunch today.”
- Improved access to food for neighbours most vulnerable during the pandemic.
- Sourcing healthy and nutritious food, culturally appropriate where possible.
- Investing in strategic partnerships that leverage resources to optimize our services.
Thanks to your support, we were able to quickly convert a portion of our warehouse into an Emergency Food Bank at the beginning of the pandemic in order to help neighbours who are most vulnerable. This program provides improved access for hungry neighbours using a food bank for the first time, or who are unsure of how to access their neighbourhood food bank.
We served over 8,600 individuals through the Emergency Food Bank – a 167% increase from last year.
Providing access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food is a vital part of how we support hungry neighbours. Our ReclaimFRESH food rescue program provides healthy food to our hungry neighbours while reducing food waste. ReclaimFRESH works with food producers, wholesalers, and grocery stores to rehome surplus or unsold fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy products.
Over 545,000 pounds of food was rescued – a 33% increase from last year. This makes up 13% of the food distributed this year!
Your support fuels our entire network of 50+ agencies and 30+ other poverty support initiatives across our city. When you give, you’re supporting work to lead and empower a community network that ensures equitable access to food assistance, improved health, and consistent service.
COVID-19 brought about major challenges and changes, and throughout this time, you have enabled us to strengthen relationships with our agencies and adapt together as a network through:
- Regular calls
- Pre-packed food hampers for distribution
- PPE for agency volunteers and clients
- Funding for agencies
Meet Gerry, one of our clients who is a part of our Food Bank 2 Home delivery program.
He recently shared with us how you’ve helped make a difference for him during the pandemic.
“The Mississauga Food Bank knows that I’m diabetic and high potassium, and they select food that complements my diet and the food I have to have. It’s been very difficult. I live alone, I’ve got no relatives.
I look forward to the call from the food bank.”
Volunteers are the foundation of the work we do, and are critical to supporting our hungry neighbours. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we limited the number of volunteers we could welcome into the food bank – so they stepped up in a big way! Thank you to our team of over 800 volunteers (562 new this year) who contributed over 25,000 hours!
Thank you to our donors! You continue to support your neighbours and prioritize the wellbeing of your community through the toughest of times.
This year, 17,155+ individuals, companies, religious organizations, and community groups came together to raise 27% more than the previous year! We are grateful for you ongoing support in the fight to end hunger in Mississauga.
In 2020-2021, you donated food and funds totalling $16.8 million to feed hungry children, seniors, families, and other neighbours across our city. That’s by far the most Mississauga has ever stepped up to support our hungry neighbours, and we are endlessly grateful for you.
Donations & Income Breakdown:
- 93% – Donations
- 3% – Community Events
- 3% – Government Grants
- 1% – Sponsorships
- <1% – Other
Your partnership enables us to meet the surge in demand and prepare for the future as we see more of our community become and remain vulnerable to food insecurity after the pandemic.
- 90% – Sourcing, managing, and distributing food
- 6% – Fundraising
- 4% – Administration
Income and expenses include 3,286,847 pounds of donated food and household products valued at $2.62/pound. This value has been determined using data from Nielsen MarketTrack, December 7, 2019. Percentages do not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Food insecurity is just one symptom of the larger problem: poverty.
While hunger can be addressed with short-term solutions like food banks, food insecurity is a systemic issue that requires long-term social and political change.
With your support, we will continue to feed our hungry neighbours while advocating for our government to enact policies that decrease long-term poverty, including:
- Protection for Low-Income Renters
- A Minimum Income Floor
- Affordable Early Learning and Childcare
- Food Justice and Racial Equity
Needed Policy 1: Protection for Low-Income Renters
The vast majority of food bank users rent their homes. The average monthly income of a food bank client is just over $1,300. With the average monthly cost of a one-bedroom rental unit in Mississauga averaging over $1,700, food bank clients simply do not earn enough to pay for rent, food, and other necessary monthly expenses.
Neighbours like Nikita face this dilemma every month:
“Now my husband has a job but still it is not enough money for us to pay the rent, bills, and other basic necessities.”
Needed Policy 2: Minimum Income Floor
10% of Canadians live beneath the poverty line. Single adults are at greater risk, with 33% falling into deep poverty, meaning they are over 50% below the poverty line.
Our community’s reliance on government support as their primary income has increased during the pandemic. While 15% of the population in Mississauga received CERB last year, this and existing supports like the Canada Child Benefit and Ontario Works require recipients to meet specific criteria.
Our neighbours should not have to qualify for the basic standard of living that a minimum basic income can provide.
Needed Policy 3: Affordable Early Learning and Childcare
The lack of affordable early learning and childcare options can push low-income Mississauga families to become food insecure. This is exacerbated in single-parent – and therefore single-income – households. Women have also been disproportionately affected by job losses, and the cost of childcare is a significant barrier for low income families to re-enter the labour force.
Teresa is a single parent and sole caregiver for her daughter, Violet. She struggled to find employment and affordable childcare during the pandemic, and turned to her neighbourhood food bank for help.
Needed Policy 4: Food Justice and Racial Equity
“Food desert” is a term that has become synonymous with low-income communities – often communities of colour – where there is limited access to healthy and affordable food or where there are no grocery stores. This term is misleading because it implies that these “deserts” are naturally occurring. In reality, these low-income and low food access communities exist due to racially discriminatory practices, such as zoning codes and lending policies, that oppress these communities.
This means that food insecurity is not distributed equally. Did you know that 57% of Mississauga residents are people of colour, and yet they make up over 80% of our food bank clients?
We continue to collect race data from the people we serve because we know this is the first step in understanding our community’s needs and supporting them with both short-term assistance and long-term solutions.
Together we’ve ensured no one goes hungry today, but what about tomorrow?
The Mississauga Food Bank continues to feed our hungry neighbours every day until structural change in these areas is realized. Remember, your voice and your vote matter when it comes to long-term poverty reduction.