UWPH says food insecurity is on the rise in Huron-Perth
February 7, 2023 5:01am
The Director of Social Research and Planning for United Way Perth Huron says the results of a survey they launched last November on food insecurity in Huron and Perth painted a fairly bleak picture.
Kristin Crane says it was largely an online survey and they were very pleased with the response they got although some of the responses were a bit surprising.
“One of which is that 62 per cent of people who filled out the survey, who are experiencing food insecurity because of financial constraints, are actually full-time employed. That I think really debunks some of the myths that we have about food insecurity in our region,” said Crane.
She adds, that indicates that the incomes people are earning are not enough to cover the cost of food and the price of food is continuing to rise.
Crane also says 88 per cent of the people who responded to the survey said they had to cut into their food budget to cover other expenses. “So it’s fixed expenses on a monthly basis, like rent and utilities, maybe child care costs, those are the ones that people must pay on a monthly basis. But those ones that are more flexible, people will sacrifice that,” she added.
Crane says they also asked people how often they had to reduce or skip meals and one-third of respondents said they had to reduce or skip meals at least once a month. “Sometimes it’s more frequent than that. And then there’s data showing how frequently people have to entirely miss a full day of food. And sadly, of these, three percent of families with children, so that they have to go a whole day without food, the children did.”
Crane also says they found there is a significant miss-match between what people dealing with food insecurity would like to be eating and what they can afford to buy. She says for most people a healthy diet includes fresh meat, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and dairy products, but for most people dealing with food insecurity those items are out of reach and those are commonly not the items that are donated at food banks.
Crane also notes they will be presenting the results of their survey to several municipal councils and they’ll be sharing their survey with some studies that have been completed by Huron Perth Public Health to see if they can come up with solutions to the food insecurity problem in Huron and Perth.