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Editorial: Food banks are a tourniquet when we need a cure

With record numbers of North Shore residents relying on food banks, it's time to seriously look for more permanent solutions
Greater Vancouver Food Bank CEO David Long has seen a significant increase in demand for his organization's services |Chung Chow, BIV

Food banks are the most wonderful thing that we wish did not exist. Previously unthinkable numbers of people are showing up at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank's North Shore Neighbourhood House location, with children and working people among the fastest growing demographics in need of help.

We are of course glad their needs are being met, but this is a symptom of a much larger problem. What was once a Band-Aid solution to poverty is now becoming a tourniquet, and far too many people are bleeding.

This is a dangerous place for a country to be in. It fuels populism, and opens the door for people who are more interested in capitalizing on blame than finding solutions. Inflation in food prices is a complex matter, and no amount of blame will put food on the table.

Next week, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank will launch their annual Mayors Food Bank Challenge. We urge you to donate generously, if you can. You won’t regret helping to fill the tummy of a little one in your community. But while you’re at it, let your mayor, your MLA and your MP know that the status quo is not acceptable.

Food Banks Canada specifically calls for a form of guaranteed basic income. The concept has been piloted to great success many times, but laissez faire-oriented governments have been loath to pursue it. It’s time to admit the holes in our social safety net are too big to ignore the strategy any longer.

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