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Overwhelmed food charities say solution to hunger is higher incomes, not more funding

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A Newfoundland and Labrador charity says it can’t afford to keep operating a service that offered grocery gift cards to people struggling to buy food.

But Josh Smee of Food First NL says the solution is not to fund his group’s food helpline but to increase incomes for those who can’t afford groceries.

Smee says the province is facing a food insecurity crisis far greater than anything seen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is when he launched the community food helpline.

Nick Saul of Community Food Centres Canada says his organization works with about 400 food charities across the country and that many are struggling as the soaring cost of living drives record numbers of people to their services.

Saul echoes Smee’s calls for policy changes that would increase incomes for those struggling to buy groceries, including by substantially hiking welfare rates.

Smee says it was a painful decision to stop the community food helpline, but he says work is underway to make sure its users are paired with alternative services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press


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