The Hidden Reality of Hunger

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Everyday, tens of thousands of children are going hungry in our communities. From North Vancouver to Dunbar, Strathcona to Surrey – there are rumbly tummies and empty lunch boxes.

But have you ever wondered why? For so many of us that have food in our fridges and cupboards, childhood hunger seems like an issue that impacts people in other parts of the world – not here in Metro Vancouver.

But did you know that BC has the highest child poverty rate in Canada?(1) While BC has the highest economic growth rate of any province in Canada, an astounding 20% of children in our communities are living below the poverty line.(2)

And this number continues to rise.

Even in a city like Vancouver that’s full of wealth and opportunity, the average two-parent family lives on less than $19,000 per year. With rent, basic living expenses and childcare costs all increasing ten- and twenty-fold in the last two decades, a crisis has emerged for families in our communities.(3)

Basic needs like food, shelter and warmth are now in direct competition with one another. At Backpack Buddies, this is a tension that we see every single day — it’s the pressure we try to alleviate through our programs.

The families in our communities are often forced to make impossible trade-offs. Forego dinners this week to pay rent. Skip perishable items so the fridge can be unplugged and the electricity bill kept low. And on and on it goes.

The result of these trade offs is called food insecurity – every day, 20% of children in our communities live with uncertainty or limited availability of the food they need to stay nourished and grow.

The intricate patchwork of social services like school lunch programs, Food Banks, and more, helps significantly. For so many, it’s not enough and the big gap is over the weekend, when kids are home from school and Food Banks are closed.

Your support has made it possible for Backpack Buddies to bridge the weekend hunger gap for hundreds of children and families across Metro Vancouver who otherwise wouldn’t eat over the weekends.

Last year, Backpack Buddies delivered over 16,000 backpacks of food to children in need.

“It’s embarrassing when I can’t feed my three kids. I work hard, but the bills add up and sometimes we don’t quite make it to payday at the end of the month. Backpack Buddies eases the pressure on me as a single mom and on us as a family. They quietly and generously back us up and get us to payday making sure my kids are fed.”

– Allison

Mom of Backpack Buddies Recipients

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