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Record-breaking demand for food programs in Nova Scotia

By Caitlin Snow Jun 20, 2023 | 12:56 PM

Army Medicine / CC

There are record breaking numbers for food programs as food insecurity gets worse in our province.

The North Grove, a community hub in Dartmouth, for low-income families and individuals, is seeing a big double-digit increase in demand.

“The pressure on individuals and families right now is intense and that’s creating a huge increase in demand for organizations like ours,” said Wendy Fraser, Executive Director at The North Grove.

They say there was a 45% increase in attendance at community meals.  Four days a week, they provide a drop-in meal, serving on average 70 people. This May along, more than 940, were provided with healthy meals.

There was a 135% hike in shoppers at their produce market. The North Grove subsidizes produce prices to make them more accessible to those experiencing food insecurity. In May, the average number of shoppers was close to 200, compared to the 85 people from May 2022. The North Grove now has to buy nearly double the amount of produce than in January.

There was close to a 200% growth to visits at it’s trading cupboard, which provides access to non-perishable food, diapers, toiletries and toilet paper.  There were 143 visits in May.

“Food insecurity is not a problem that’s rooted in a lack of food, it is an issue that is rooted in inadequate income,” said Fraser, referring to a recent survey that showed food insecurity dropping during the pandemic when low-income individuals qualified for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

“With limited income, people face tough choices every day that take an incredible toll,” said Fraser. “Every day, we see people who must choose between paying rent or buying food. We see new moms trying to decide whether to buy diapers or formula. No parent should have to make that kind of choice.”

According to Stats Canada, 1 in 4 Nova Scotians can’t consistently afford healthy food. That’s about 213 thousand people.


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