The annual Hunger Count Survey provides a national snapshot of food bank use in Canada. The total number of individuals who receive groceries from food banks and other agencies are recorded during the month of March. March is chosen because it is an unexceptional month, without predictable high or low use patterns and is used consistently, to make relevant comparisons in use patterns over time. According to their figures, use has gone down slightly.


Niagara’s use of food banks according to the Hunger Count Survey decreased 1.05% from 2006 to 2007, but was slightly above the national and provincial changes in use.  Source: Ontario Association / Canadian Association of Food Banks.


Table 26   Hunger Count 2006, 2007, 2008

Hunger count
Data Collected March 1 – March 31 annually
Source: Ontario Association / Canadian Association of Food Banks




% Change

















In 2007, according to local data, 12,540 individuals used the food banks in Niagara and 37% or 4,640 of them were children under the age of 18 years. This was up from 2006 when 9,037 individuals used the food banks in Niagara, representing 4047 households and 3391 children. Community Care, an agency distributing food in St. Catharines/Thorold reported that they serve approximately 1337 individuals each month (67 people each day). A Community Care survey with 833 respondents indicated that the highest proportion of people accessing services were single males (35.1%), followed by 22.0% single females; 18.7% single-parent female-led; 14.8% two parent families; 7.3% couples without children; and 2.2% single-parent male-led. Source: Arai, S. (2007).


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