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Can J Public Health. 1999 Mar-Apr;90(2):109-13.

Household food insecurity and hunger among families using food banks.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario.


Over the past two decades, the demand for charitable food assistance has steadily grown, and a massive ad hoc system of food banks has become established in Canada. To assess the food insecurity and nutritional vulnerability of one subgroup of food bank users, interviews were conducted with a sample of 153 women in families using emergency food relief programs in Metropolitan Toronto. Ninety percent reported household incomes which were less than two thirds of the 'poverty line', and 94% reported some degree of food insecurity over the previous 12 months. Seventy percent reported some level of absolute food deprivation, despite using food banks. The findings highlight the limited capacity of ad hoc, charitable food assistance programs to respond to problems of household food insecurity which arise in the context of severe and chronic poverty.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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