The Growing Appetite for Food Banks – Project Ramadan

The Growing Appetite for Food Banks

The Growing Appetite for Food Banks

Previously we highlighted the many social determinants of health that contribute to the presence and worsening of food insecurity. As we observe the exponential growth of these factors such as rising unaffordability and income inequality, we also see a mirroring increase in the demand for food-related resources and aid. Food banks are an essential service that provides essential food items to those in need, completely free of charge.

In 2023, almost two million Canadians visited food banks. Every month. That was a near 79% increase compared to food bank users in 2019, and the highest number of visits since 1989. It’s clear we are facing a massive hunger crisis right here at home.

So what’s the deal with food banks?

Food banks acquire and provide safe, nutritious, and culturally accommodating food for individuals in need. They are staple non-profit initiatives that offer direct assistance to the most vulnerable. Food banks are also crucial in ending food waste considering 30% of food is wasted around the world annually. That’s roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of food!

Food banks do the heavy lifting on a community level to make a tangible impact in the lives of many.

Our parent organization, Muslim Welfare Canada (MWC), opened their first food bank in 1993. For over 30 years, we have helped feed thousands of families. MWC decided to take its efforts to combat food inequality on a greater level with the support of concerned community members, whereby Project Ramadan was founded.

Since our inception in 2009, we have raised over $2.8 million and distributed over 100,000 bags, feeding 50,000 families across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, and in recent years, Northern Canada. Our food baskets contain staple food items to support underserved community members, regardless of their race, religion or nationality. We work with several Canadian beneficiaries that serve diverse community members such as: newcomers, women and children, people with disabilities, and various ethnic and religious groups across the country.

Project Ramadan's Food Basket Contents
Project Ramadan food baskets contains nutritious grocery items that can support a family in need for one month.

This year, our goal is to raise $500,000 and help feed 6,000 families.

Food banks are important pillars in our communities, providing immense relief to people in need while also eliminating food waste. As we see a growing demand, it’s important to acknowledge food banks are not the end-all solution. In order to resolve the ongoing epidemic of food insecurity, governmental interventions are critical. These include policy changes, economic stability, and increased support for workers, unemployed individuals, people with disabilities, underserved communities, and ultimately everyone and anyone who needs support.

There are an endless myriad of factors that worsen the burden of food insecurity, but a causal root is centred around money. To ensure everyone has access to safe and nutritious foods, policy interventions are needed that increase and improve financial outcomes for everyone.

While food banks are integral to address food insecurity, they are not the permanent solution. We continue our efforts to help the most marginalized, but we dream of a future where no one is hungry.

As we approach Ramadan, we encourage you to learn more about our cause and donate. For a minimal donation of $70, you can help feed a family for a month.


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