Our Clients Are


2016 2015
Children 37% 40%
Seniors 7% 7%
Adults 56% 53%


Family Makeup

2016 2015
Single parent families 25% 26%
2-parent families 27% 26%
Couples without children 10% 11%
Single person 45% 42%

The Perfect Storm: Lack of Income & Affordable Housing

While many programs attempt to reduce food bank usage, most do not address the single root cause—a lack of adequate income. Provincial resources have been dedicated to making post-secondary education accessible to increase employment, and 39% of food bank clients reported having some post-secondary education. Despite this rate of education, only 15% of clients report employment as their primary source of income.

Food bank clients working full-time, report an average annual income of $19,632 ($1,636/month) demonstrating ongoing challenges in obtaining adequate employment earnings opportunities. For this reason, 30% of clients report that they rely on multiple sources of income to supplement these inadequate employment earnings.

For these reasons, we support the Ontario government’s recently announced guaranteed annual income pilot. The ongoing pervasive challenges of poverty require bold, wide-sweeping, innovative solutions that can address these deep problems.

Alongside the struggle to earn adequate income, food bank clients spend an average of 67% of their income on shelter. As a part of the City of Mississauga’s Affordable Housing Program, city staff and outside consultants recently undertook a Housing Gap Analysis1 to determine the gap between housing demand and supply in Mississauga.

The Mississauga Food Bank supports the City of Mississauga’s recommended measures to address the troublesome housing situation in Mississauga. They’ll be increasing the supply of units available to low income households through adding market rental units, subsidized units and permitting second units, protecting existing rental units from being converted to condominiums, and increasing the number of units for larger households.2

Until this perfect storm of inadequate income and lack of affordable housing is fully addressed, the need for food banks will remain critical.


2https://www7.mississauga.ca/documents/pb/main/2016/gapanalysisApr21.pdf, page 7

Edward’s Story

Edward sits patiently in the front reception room, nursing a coffee while a food bank volunteer gathers his food. It begins to rain outside and he asks another volunteer for a spare plastic bag to protect his shoeless foot. He carefully eases his swollen foot and leg into the bag.

Edward is like thousands of Canadians battling an unexpected illness alone without family to turn to for help.

“Everyone has a lymph system in their body. If you have a blockage in it, your leg will start swelling,” he explains. “I’ve been without shoes for 2 years. I tried to get orthopedic shoes through the government but they don’t cover it anymore. And they cost $2,000 because they’re custom-made. So, that’s where I am with that.”

Edward is wearing size 5XL pants to fit a leg swollen to 36 inches in diameter. He estimates his leg weighs an extra 100 pounds. He’s been unemployed for some time now; his lack of mobility and frequent hospital stays making it difficult to land and keep a job.

This isn’t the only hardship he’s faced. In 2003, he lost his only child, a son, just two days before his sixteenth birthday. Since that tragedy, he and his wife divorced. “That was her idea, not mine,” he adds quietly.

Edward is like thousands of Canadians battling an unexpected illness alone without family to turn to for help. When asked what he would do without the food bank for support, he admits that he honestly doesn’t know how he would make ends meet.

His taxi arrives and several volunteers carry his food out to the car. It’s raining harder and Edward secures the plastic bag around his foot in preparation for the journey home. He thanks the volunteers, smiling broadly at each one.

“Since I got older, I’ve tried to be friendlier with people. I smile at everyone who goes by me,” he explains. “If they don’t smile back, well, that’s their problem.”

Myth Busters

So many myths about poverty, hunger and homelessness warp our understanding of the most vulnerable people in our community. Below are a few of these common myths, juxtaposed with the facts that prove them wrong. Please read and share, to help us raise awareness about the true situation of hunger in Mississauga.

Myth #1

People wouldn’t need a food bank if they were better educated.


39% of all food bank clients have some form of post-secondary education. In today’s economy, even having a post-secondary education doesn’t guarantee a livable wage.

Myth #2

Food bank clients are dependent on the system and receive food every single month.


49% of clients only visited a food bank 3 or fewer times this year. Only 11% of clients visit every month or more.

Myth #3

All food bank users are new immigrants.


79% of clients reported their highest level of education was obtained in Canada. Only 21% of clients reported being educated outside Canada.

Myth #4

Most food bank users are homeless.


Only 5.4% of clients are currently living in shelters, with friends and family, or on the street.