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HungerCount 2021: Food Bank Use Across Alberta Among Highest in the Country

2021 HungerCount Report Shows a 29.6% Increase in Food Banks Access in Alberta

According to the latest HungerCount report released today by Food Banks Canada, food banks across Alberta saw 116,396 visits to a food bank in March 2021, one of the highest in the country.  While COVID-19 continues to affect individuals and families across the country, Food Banks Alberta wants to remind families that food banks are open, essential and ready to support all Albertans.

Food Banks Canada released the first HungerCount report since 2019, which offers a collection of data from food banks across the country that reflect the challenges, resilience and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data reflects a perfect storm that has driven thousands of new families to local food banks over the past 18 months; noting rising food and housing costs, pandemic-related job loss and unemployment as the main factors for the increase in accessing food banks and their services.

Key 2021 HungerCount Findings:

  • 116,396 Albertans visited a food bank in March 2021. A total increase of 29.6% since the 2019 HungerCount.
  • There were over 44,586 visits to Alberta food banks by children in March 2021.
  • 45% of Alberta’s food bank users are families.
  • 15.2% of food bank users receive Provincial Disability Supports.
  • In rural Alberta, 30.5% of food bank users are seniors or persons with a disability.
  • 1 in 8 Canadians access a community food program like a food bank.

“It’s staggering to see these numbers in Alberta, but not surprising with how hard hit the province was largely due to the pandemic,” said Arianna Scott, Interim CEO, Food Banks Alberta. “Our member food banks across Alberta have all been reporting a surge in food bank access, which includes a new population of Albertans accessing their local food bank largely due to increases in rental or housing costs, increased food costs, unemployment and other pandemic-related circumstances.”

Scott says Food Banks Alberta is working closely with Food Banks Canada, as well as their member food banks across the province to ensure all food banks are prepared for these numbers to continue to trend upwards as government support options are expected to decrease.

Food Banks Canada indicates that this volatile combination created a “perfect storm” that has food banks across the country bracing for a “tidal wave” of new clients in the months ahead.

Read the entire Alberta press release here:

Download the 2021 HungerCount here: