Title:HungerCount 2002: Eating their words : government failure on food security.
Variant Title:Canada’s annual survey of emergency food programs
Author(s):Wilson, Beth|split|Tsoa, Emily
Corporate Author: Canadian Association of Food Banks
Subject:Food security – hunger, health|split|Food security – statistics, studies
Publisher:Canadian Association of Food Banks
Place of Publication:Toronto
Date of Publication:2002
The HungerCount study is a national survey of food bank use in Canada. Initiated in 1989, the HungerCount study has been conducted on an annual basis since 1997. Each year, we invite every food bank in Canada to participate in order to provide an up-to-date national portrait of hunger and food insecurity. In the past, food bank use was the only measure available for assessing the extent of hunger and food insecurity in Canada. However, recent national population surveys have found that many more individuals than those occupying food bank lines lack the financial resources to access an adequate diet. According to the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) and the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth (NLSCY), most food insecure individuals and families do not use food banks or other charitable food programs, despite need. While food bank studies include many marginalized people that are excluded from population studies (due to the use of telephone surveys), food bank use alone underestimates the extent of food insecurity and hunger nationwide. As such, findings from this current study may best be viewed as the tip of the iceberg with respect to hunger and food insecurity in Canada. Within a domestic context, hunger and food insecurity are best understood as consequences of extreme poverty. In this land of plenty, a radically unequal distribution of resources underlies the existence, extent and depth of poverty across the country. Like homelessness, hunger and food insecurity emerge when social policies fail to ensure an adequate standard of living that meets basic needs. The annual HungerCount provides a means of evaluating the progress of governments with respect to ensuring income security, food security and an adequate standard of living for all.