Remember when we stated that food banks were meant to be a temporary solution. Graham Riches, CCPA-BC Research Associate and Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the University of British Columbia argues that “ reliance on charity has been steadily weakening Canada’s once progressive social safety net, and continues to threaten current anti-poverty strategies.” He concludes that domestic hunger remains invisible as a human rights and social justice issue on Canada’s public policy agenda. The corporatization of hunger allows our governments to keep looking the other way.
Sometimes one policy gives while the other takes away. Food banks have disposal issues and costs just like retailers and restaurants but imagine if it is now food banks that acquire the costs dealing with food that is not edible. Or imagine that a change in garbage fees ,a policy set by municipal government ,impacts the costs of food banks performing these needed services.
Not all donated food is safe, appealing or nutritious. Food Banks and Soup Kitchens: An Overview a report by The N.B. Common Front for Social Justice Inc highlights the experiences of food bank and soup kitchen patrons with spoiled food, the variety of food is limited, and does not meet daily nutritional requirements.
But where is the money for food banks? Tax incentives may increase costs for small volunteer run food banks including increased paperwork for donations. Increases of donated food may lead to increased sorting, storage, transportation costs. Food banks often rely on grants for equipment and improvements to programs; these grants are not always from governments. In fact we see that encouraging charitable food donation reduces waste costs for local governments but they are not always major financial supporters of food banks, The report referred to in the previous paragraph gives the examples of “Shediac’s Vestiaire Saint-Joseph annually receives a grant of $14,000 from the government, yet it spends over $100,000 on food alone, excluding its other expenses. Vestiaire Saint-Joseph’s survival rests on the profits it generates through the sale of second-hand clothing. The “Open Hands Food Bank”, which served 14,607 clients in 2009, only received $17,000 from the government, while its annual expenses were over $60,000.
Aart Schuurman Hess, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank also has voiced concerns about politicians not doing enough consultation on the impacts of this tax incentive policy on volunteer run organizations.”
Zero Waste Canada advocates for sustainable solutions to make our country and our earth a better place to live.
Yes we must reduce food waste.
Yes tax incentives will promote food donations to food banks.