Whitehorse Daily Star

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Tristan Newsome

Data confirm significant hunger numbers evident in Whitehorse

The number of households needing to use the Whitehorse Food Bank rose by 44 per cent from 2011 to 2016.

By Whitehorse Star on October 16, 2017

The number of households needing to use the Whitehorse Food Bank rose by 44 per cent from 2011 to 2016. 

This is one of the findings in the recently released report on client usage prepared for the bank by Vector Research.

“This report clearly outlines the demographics of households receiving hampers and the extent to which Whitehorse Food Bank services are needed,” Stu Mackay, who chairs the bank’s board, said Friday.

“It will be very helpful in planning our future program directions,” stated Mackay.

Other findings include:

• The bank issued a total of 8,209 food hampers to 1,894 households in 2016. Each household served by the bank received, on average, 4.3 hampers over the year.

• In 2016, most households (75 per cent) receiving hampers from the bank were led by single people.

• Children were present in households receiving hampers from the bank 31 per cent of the time in 2016.

• Social assistance was the primary source of income for half (49 per cent) of households served by the bank 2016.

• Between 2011 and 2016, the number of households served by the bank living in private rental accommodation more than doubled, increasing by 109 per cent.

• Household leaders younger than age 51 are more likely to be female (57 per cent) than male (43 per cent). Household leaders older than 50 years of age are more likely to be male (66 per cent) than female (34 per cent).

• While most (91 per cent) of the households served by the bank were located in Whitehorse, nine per cent were located in communities outside of Whitehorse.

 “We are very pleased with this report, and we believe it will help ourselves as well as other governments and organizations who are working on poverty issues to review their services,” said Tristan Newsome, the bank’s executive director.

Over the past six years, the data from every client visit to the bank have been tracked. 

The data are stored in a database along with information on the client’s age, household type and size, income source and housing situation. 

“The data yield a variety of insights about the uptake patterns and demographic profile of Whitehorse Food Bank clients, and can be represented in a number of ways using visualization software,” said Paul Kishchuk of Vector Research.

The report will also assist in raising the public’s awareness of hunger in our community along with other activities such as the National Hunger Awareness Week and Poverty and Homelessness Action Week.

The food bank is a community-based organization that provides emergency food to people in need.

It’s supported by many individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses and other organizations throughout the year. 

“Together, we all help feed hungry people in our community,” the bank said.

Comments (18)

Up 0 Down 0

Ginger Johnson on Oct 22, 2017 at 9:51 pm

"The number of households needing to use the Whitehorse Food Bank rose by 44 per cent from 2011 to 2016."
NEEDING ???????? HA!

The Yukon economy has been doing quite well (3% unemployment)
Many of these people are simply taking advantage of an easy to get source of free food.

Up 8 Down 1

Larry on Oct 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

After a lifetime of living all around the Yukon I know there are two kinds of people here, no matter what their background. Those who try to make their own way and stand on their own two feet, and those who are out to use the system in every way possible for their own gain. Without even having a high school education I’ve managed to work and support myself and my family well for 20 years, all it takes is a good work ethic and to not smoke, drink or snort your wages away. I think the food bank is a case of building something and all of the sudden it somehow becomes ‘needed’ for people to get by. I’m tired of people who complain about not having enough money but somehow spend $15 on cigarettes every 2 days.

Up 3 Down 1

drum on Oct 21, 2017 at 9:16 pm

I believe that many people who use the food bank are the ones that are forgotten. They are families who do work but for minimum wage - the working poor. They are hard working people who work all hours they can get for basic wages but have to pay rent in this town (unbelievable rents for often substandard housing) because of their situation - maybe new immigrants they do not know their rights and are taken advantage of. There are many people in this Territory that are hard working people trying to survive and are working hard for basic wages and need help sometimes - maybe a few days before a paycheque is due and have a family to feed. They are not SA recipients taking advantage and sitting at home watching TV as some people seem to think all Food Bank recipients are.

Up 8 Down 1

Max Mack on Oct 21, 2017 at 10:40 am

How come my comment from the other day has not been posted? Criticizing "the data" and "data collection" methods is taboo?

Up 15 Down 1

system needs an overhaul on Oct 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

There is no doubt that this service is being abused. Many of us have stories we could tell. People living fairly expensive lifestyles by choice, and then picking up free food at the Food Bank because they'd rather have the money for other things, be it recreational activities and toys, or yes, I suppose booze, drugs and smokes. The couple I'm thinking about use the 'food budget' for outdoor recreation though. They don't give a damn.

Up 8 Down 1

friend did the same on Oct 21, 2017 at 1:31 am

The university I went too had a food bank too. A friend of mine went there everyday for fresh produce. His argument was if he didn't take some it would spoil. (a lot was thrown out at the end of the week). He saved quite a bit of money and purchased a lot of alcohol and drugs.

damn university was fun...

Up 11 Down 0

Nile on Oct 20, 2017 at 9:02 am

@politico SA will pay a single person with no children the following. $242 a month for food. $344-$459 a month for utilities. $74 a month for clothing plus $125 once a year for winter clothes. $53 dollars a month for incidentals. Cell phone is paid for (aprox $90 a month). House hold furnishings $500 a year. Laundry $10 a month. Supplimentary allowance $250 a month. Rent $514 a month for a single person. So in Whitehorse a single person with no children gets $1,692. This rate jumps dramatically if you “live” outside of Whitehorse, as many of the homeless in Whitehorse do.

Up 8 Down 1

Max Mack on Oct 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

"the data".
Like it's something that has been cleansed through some scientific, laboratory intensive process. Bah humbug.

Two immediate points spring to mind: 1) "visitors" to the Food Bank might not be revealing the truth about their situation; 2) data collectors (Food Bank volunteers or whatever) may be loosely or generously interpreting information.

I also seriously question the assertion that the Food Bank has "data" on every single "visitor".

Up 4 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on Oct 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

I don't know Politico, heard of and seen more than a few scammers over the years, some almost full time. Hard to report them when nothing is ever done about it ever. The self-serving nature of the business world is becoming more and more entrenched in the NGO world and holding their feet to the fire to ensure that every dollar involved is spent wisely isn't a bad thing.

Up 10 Down 1

john henry on Oct 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm

How can the young people go on S.A., I would be ashamed to ask for S.A. There is work out there for everyone all you have to do is look.
I agree some people need it, those that need it, it's all right but you young people should be ashamed.

Up 5 Down 34

Politico on Oct 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Lots of tall tales here with not a bit of truth to any of them. If you all have this much evidence of wrong doing why don't you report it. Right, it's that old here say versus real evidence that trips you up every time. By the way, do any of you know how much money welfare gives you for food per day, thought not.

Up 31 Down 8

Groucho d'North on Oct 18, 2017 at 11:00 am

Perhaps a means test is in order before you can qualify for free food from the Food Bank? Also I wonder how much social assistance budget flows through the tattoo shops in town?

Up 46 Down 4

neighbour on Oct 17, 2017 at 3:28 pm

I'm a neighbor of the food bank, and I can't tell you how many times I saw out of territory plates parked in front of the food bank. Personally witnessed many times guys walking out with armfuls of food and packing it into their obviously road tripping vehicles (and Motorbikes), from Alberta, NWT, Alaska, BC. Since witnessing the behavior every day of people coming out of that place, the luxury vehicles parked out the front, the food strewn all over the street.. Not impressed. Sorry.

Up 32 Down 6

Folks Yukon is down to a 3.3% unemployment rate on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm

There is work out there. Why not go get a job. There should be more job training to help people to get into the work force. Welfare is for the needed, not anyone else.

Up 39 Down 4

Nile on Oct 17, 2017 at 11:35 am

The data says what the Food Bank wants it to say. All this tells me is that the system is being abused.

Up 52 Down 10

jc on Oct 16, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Why are there so many people on welfare in the Yukon? Almost every private company in Whitehorse is staffed by Immigrants. The owners tell us that local people won't work. Is that true? If it is then the government has to tell these people that find work or no more assistance. And mean it. When these people get hungry enough, they will seek out work. I've worked since I was 16 - over 60 years now, and still working. I don't make much, but I know how to exist with what I got. As long as the government continues to support these recipients, they will continue to come to the trough.

Up 57 Down 4

Joe on Oct 16, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Everyone agrees that nobody should ever go hungry in this town. The question I and so many others have is how many food bank recipients offset the donated food and use the saved money to buy drugs or booze. We know there are many legitimate clients who use the service for its intent and we know the service is essential, just wonder how many people abuse the system. Any stats on that ?And, if the system is knowingly abused, is it acceptable ? Understanding that addiction is illness.

Up 54 Down 12

June Jackson on Oct 16, 2017 at 3:50 pm

49% of people getting food hampers are on welfare... welfare gives a generous amount of money for food..and cigarettes and liquor... (I have said this before, but I'll just repeat it here, I personally know a man who lives with his wife and kids in Yukon Housing, also gets rent for a cabin that does not exist on the Carcross Road..I told him I was going to report him and he said go ahead they won't do anything.. I was told later that there just wasn't staff to investigate welfare fraud.) So.. my point here is why do welfare recipients need public food too? Where are they choosing to spend their food money? Sally Ann serves lunch and supper, and snacks available throughout the day.. The Cathedral serves soup and sandwiches on Sundays.. why is anyone hungry in Whitehorse? How much money did the government spend on stocking the Food Bank? Nothing? How much did this report cost? Maybe check the back alley on Wednesdays.. pick up a food bag for 10.00 bucks..

I am really irritated that anyone does not have enough to eat.. Shame on us for those truly in need, no one, absolutely no one should be hungry and shame on those who abuse the system.

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