Food insecurity and poverty often times go hand-in-hand, producing devastating effects, particularly for children.
According to a 2016 census, an astounding 12 per cent of Calgary children and youth are living in poverty. It was also found that many newcomers to Canada, Indigenous peoples, and racialized families are experiencing a higher rate of poverty.
In addition to food insecurity, poverty can affect all aspects of a child’s life, including financial literacy, dental health, and learning difficulties and developmental issues, among many others. The effects of poverty on children and youth often times follow them into adulthood.
Food insecurity can have lasting and detrimental effects on children. Not only does hunger make it difficult to focus and succeed in school, but studies have found that it can impair cognitive functions and brain development. Childhood hunger has also been linked to significant health problems in adulthood including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental health issues including depression.
Having access to a regular source of food is an incredibly important step in helping to solve the issue of poverty. Food insecurity can lead to an immense amount of stress, making it difficult to focus on getting help.
I Can for Kids is working hard to ensure that children and youth across Calgary have access to nutritional food during the summer months and to lessen the effects of food insecurity.
When school ends and summer begins, many kids in the city who rely on school nutrition programs find themselves without a regular source of nutritious food. Summer should be a time to have fun and relax, but for many kids this is not the case. Thousands of children and youth in our city suffer from food insecurity and the many short term and long term effects that come with it.
I Can for Kids endeavours to give kids the summer they deserve by providing non-perishable food packs, fresh fruit, peanut butter, and other nutritious items to hungry children and youth during the summer months. Faced with a 67 per cent increase in demand for our food packs this summer, I Can for Kids distributed 12,000 multi-meal food packs, 528 cases of fresh fruit, and 8,000 grab and go food packs– amounting to over 64,000 meals!
Together we can work to end summer childhood hunger, and work towards ending poverty in our city. To donate, please visit our donation page.
To learn more about other effects poverty can have on children, please visit www.locallove.ca.