Good-to-Go Food Box Program Starting in Hamilton
May 13, 2013 Poverty Reduction
"Seventy five percent of people accessing foodbanks in the City of Hamilton are in receipt of provincial social assistance,” according to Craig Foye, a staff lawyer at our Clinic.
Particularly hard hit in their ability to access healthy food are unattached individuals receiving Ontario Works.
The City of Hamilton has recognized that people generally do not receive enough money through Ontario Works (OW) benefits to buy healthy food each month.
In fact, in the 2012 annual Nutritious Food Basket report of Hamilton’s Public Health Services it was noted that OW singles were short $144 each month of being able to eat a basic healthy diet and pay their rent. And this calculation does not even take into account the costs of other basic necessities (such as telephone, transportation, or household and personal care items). Hamilton’s Annual report also found that other OW family recipients were also short of the income to buy sufficient nutritional food.
The City of Hamilton is addressing this problem with a pilot project called the Good-to-Go Food Box. This program, run by Environment Hamilton, is attempting to fill the gap by making available fresh fruit and vegetables for OW singles.
The Good-to-Go Food Box is a one-year pilot project that will provide fresh food to five hundred (500) single Ontario Works recipients in Hamilton.
Right now the program is looking for volunteer drivers to help deliver the food boxes. Find out how you can help at https://www.hamiltonjustice.ca/make-change
As far as we know, Hamilton is the only city doing this type of pilot project. However, because of limited resources, the pilot project will only partially address the problem.
The Clinic and others believe that a better, more permanent solution would be to establish a province wide healthy food benefit and to base social assistance rates on the actual costs faced be people.
An informative video call Unequal Access to Healthy Food http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh0JNPV5kN4&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1 provides more background.