CAW Donates to 46 Food Banks Across Canada

December 20, 2011, 2:40 PM EST


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The CAW is contributing $135,000 to food banks from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, as part of an annual donation to ease hunger.

"The increasing use of food banks demonstrates the growing inequality in our society," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"In a nation that generates so much wealth for a privileged elite, there are so many more people and families who are not sharing in that prosperity. We must all ensure that no one is left behind and remember it's completely unacceptable that people go hungry in such a wealthy country during the holiday season or at any other time," Lewenza said.

A recent study shows that as of October 2011, 850,000 Canadians were relying on food banks, which is the second highest month on record. The reliance on food banks has steadily grown in recent years - especially since the first food bank in Canada opened its doors in 1981 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Here are some startling facts from a Food Banks Canada HungerCount survey in March 2011:

 - 93,085 people or 11 per cent of the total received help from a food bank for the first time during the survey period;
- food bank use in 2011 was 20 per cent higher than 2001;
- 38 per cent of those receiving food were children and youth under the age of 18.

Lewenza said a major reason for high levels of poverty is the loss of good paying, full time jobs. "We must all recognize that when you lose good paying jobs and bring in part-time precarious work, low paying jobs you're increasing the level of poverty," Lewenza said.

According to the Canadian Payroll Association, 57 per cent of Canadians state "they would be in financial difficulty if their pay cheque was delayed by a week."

In addition to the $135,000 donation, which comes from the CAW Social Justice Fund and CAW Council, many CAW local unions perform community work and provide additional financial help to local food banks.

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