With food prices on the rise, and a global pandemic leading to job losses, many households across the country continue to struggle to feed their families.

"Pre-pandemic, estimates were that 1 in 8 Canadians were food insecure, meaning they didn't have enough money to buy food that would prevent them from being hungry," Karen Giesbrecht, a registered dietician, explains. " The last estimate I heard, we think now it's 1 in 7 Canadians that are food insecure. This can have a significant impact on our physical and social health. It also affects our spiritual health."  

Giesbrecht says those most impacted are people with precarious work, such as those in restaurant jobs, cleaners, new immigrants, immigrant women, students and those unable to take time off work because they don't have sick pay.

"Getting to know our neighbours, knowing those who struggle, making this issue personal, not just a statistic, probably makes the biggest difference," says Giesbrecht.

Throughout the pandemic, Karen noticed that the churches, neighbourhood houses and small community programs were stepping up and helping out.

"I think the work that churches do is significant," said Karen. "We have caring communities, and we've got budgets to spend on our neighbours in need."

"Every meal matters, every bag of groceries matters, every good cup of coffee matters."

Karen says we also need to recognize that churches, food banks and community meals won't end hunger. 

"They don't pull somebody out of poverty. But, as we get to know people, when we're on a first-name basis with those in our neighbourhood who struggle, then we're going to understand some of the challenges, and we're going to use the resources we can to advocate and invest in what happens."

Many churches felt hopeless through the pandemic, but Karen says this is a great way to get to know our neighbours and to start serving those in need.

Today on Connections, Karen shares a bit about the situation when it comes to food insecurity in Canada, how the church is helping and how we can start looking at food from a different perspective.