The number of Canadians using food banks per month in 2013 remained high, up 23.2 percent from five years ago when the global recession began, a report revealed Tuesday.
A total of 833,098 people turned to a food bank in Canada in March 2013, a slight decrease from the 872,379 reported one year ago, Food Banks Canada said in its annual hunger count report.
"During a time of apparent economic recovery, far too many Canadians still struggle to put food on the table," said the institution which supports a network of more than 3,000 food-related organizations that provide free groceries or meals to individuals and families.
When the recession hit Canada in late 2008, the number of people accessing food banks jumped by 18 percent, from 675,735 to 794,738 people per month in 2009.
Of the 833,098 individuals receiving food in March 2013, more than a third, or 36 percent, were children. In addition, 11 percent were immigrants and 11 percent indigenous people.
Of those helped, 77,920 were first-time users. Half were families with children; nearly half of those were two-parent families.
Based on its March 2013 figures, Food Banks Canada estimates that 1.7 million people will use a food bank at least once over the course of 2013 -- and more than 930,000, or over half, will do so for the first time.
The body suggested the government fund affordable housing, increase social investment, revolutionize social assistance, and increase federal and provincial support.