This week has been marked by an alarming portrait of food banks in Quebec. One in ten people would use it. 30% increase compared to last year. 73% increase since 2019! Needs are exploding, donations are dwindling.
Food banks say they have reduced stocks. As things currently stand, these services of last resort will no longer be able to meet demand. They urgently demand 18 million dollars from the Legault government.
As a government, I would do two things.
I grant the requested amount immediately. Faced with the urgency of the situation, it is necessary to put out the fire. We don’t have time to study complex topics or review things in depth. We are facing a crisis that affects a fundamental need: food.
Second, it would launch an important inquiry into the problem. A summit or general states. How is it that in Quebec we can no longer feed ourselves? What drives households to this last resort? How do food banks work?
I am well aware that the last two years have put a terrible strain on household wallets. Inflation has hit hard, especially in essentials like food and housing. Some households can no longer do this.
However, the minimum wage has risen more than inflation this year. Various social programs have also been indexed in an attempt to keep up. There are reasons to explore the topic.
We need to ask ourselves questions about family income. Go check out these applicants. who are they How do social programs help them, help them badly, or forget them? Need help with your budget? (I hear there are iPhones of the year in the lines).
We also need to ask questions about food banks. No one doubts his commitment to doing good. The increase in need is so enormous that it needs to be examined. Why are they getting less food from grocery stores? Is it up to the taxpayer to pay for everything at once?
Another boring question: are there those who abuse the collective generosity? I admit that I was concerned to see that on a social network like TikTok, young people are explaining, especially to foreign students, that in Canada we offer free food. Sign up and we’ll give you some!
These messages are far from the philosophy of food banks, which is mutual aid of last resort, to prevent hunger. Food bank managers make sure to carry out the necessary checks. I actually saw it with my own eyes in certain places. But is it everywhere?
Food banks do essential work, and everyone who can should help. However, they should remain a measure of last resort. They should be based primarily on donations and not government funding. The current trend cannot continue.