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August 02, 2021

Is it time to abolish food banks altogether?

“Summer is a hard time for food banks,” says Robert Thorpe, who runs the Parkdale Community Food Bank in downtown Toronto.

His two main sources of food are Daily Bread and Second Harvest, both of which tell him that their cupboards are pretty bare.

A couple of years ago, his operation was mainly serving people on welfare, disability support programs and those with mental health issues. More recently, the lines have been supplemented by laid-off factory workers, information technology staff and people with administrative jobs.

“This is a group that, up until that point in their lives, had solid and stable sources of income. And for them, to get into a food bank line, was very mortifying,” he told the Toronto Star.  

The piece is a quick reminder that money is tight in lots of areas and that maybe people could do a bit more – unless they listen to Elaine Power, a professor at Queen’s University who has spent a lot of time helping out at various food banks.  

To her way of thinking, helping to feed Canadians this way merely provides a comforting illusion that no one is really hungry – or if they are, it’s their own fault.

Food banks actually shelter us from the harsh reality that millions lack the basic necessities of life, she argues, and should be banished.

Here’s her complete argument.

Are private food banks really such a bad thing? Have you made use of their services? Should governments be doing more?




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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

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