MISSISSAUGA, ON--(Marketwired - September 16, 2016) - MPPs from across the province gathered today at The Mississauga Food Bank to sort food and raise awareness of hunger in Ontario. This MPP food sort is one of eight similar events taking place across the province today in support of the Ontario Association of Food Banks' Hunger Action Month.

"Hunger is a solvable issue," says Carolyn Stewart, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Food Banks. "But we need the support of our provincial and municipal governments if we are going to see long-term change."

The Ontario Association of Food Banks has made three recommendations to the provincial government on how it can address the root causes of hunger. These are: to follow through on the Basic Income Pilot project as outlined in the 2016 Provincial Budget; to strengthen policies that make housing affordable for all Ontarians; and to improve social assistance rates immediately, while testing better methods for lifting people out of poverty.

"Food banks provide a depth of programs to help address both short and long-term hunger," says Stewart. "This includes everything from meal programs and cooking classes, to accredited training programs and child care. But we know that sustainable change comes from good public policy that ensures all Ontarians are able to meet their most basic needs, like safe, affordable housing and nutritious food."

The most recent Hunger Report, released by the Ontario Association of Food Banks in December 2015, revealed a 35% spike in the number of senior citizens accessing food banks over the previous year. It also showed that while food bank use has remained consistent in the last three years, it is still 14% higher than pre-recession numbers in Ontario.

"Our government is taking a leading role in combating poverty in Ontario through initiatives like our Basic Income Pilot, our Affordable Housing Working Group and our Poverty Reduction Strategy," says MPP Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance and MPP for Mississauga South. "I am proud to be here today to help raise awareness of the important work that food banks do in our community every day."

The MPP Food Sort was also attended by MPP Harinder Malhi, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport and MPP for Brampton Springdale.

The Ontario Association of Food Banks will be meeting again with MPPs next week at its Day of Action at Queen's Park in support of National Hunger Awareness Week (September 19th - 23rd, 2016). To learn more please visit www.oafb.ca.

The Ontario Association of Food Banks would like to thank the generosity of its sponsors, Ontario Pork and Conestoga Meats, who helped make the event possible.

About the Ontario Association of Food Banks

The Ontario Association of Food Banks is the province's leading provider of emergency food support to frontline hunger-relief agencies and the leader in province-wide hunger research. Our mission is to strengthen communities by providing food banks with food, resources, and solutions that address both short and long-term food insecurity.

Every month, the OAFB food bank network provides food and support to more than 360,000 adults, seniors and children facing hunger. Through 125 direct member food banks, and over 1,100 affiliates, inclusive of breakfast clubs, school meal programs, community food centres, and emergency shelters, the OAFB provides over 8 million pounds of fresh and non-perishable food to those who need it most. For every $1 donated the OAFB can provide three meals to someone in need.

The OAFB is not government funded and relies exclusively on the generosity of caring individuals and organizations to support and achieve its vision of a hunger-free Ontario. Visit: www.oafb.ca

Photo and Interview Opportunity

MPP Charles Sousa, MPP Harinder Malhi, Carolyn Stewart, and attendees of the MPP Food Sort will be available for photos and interviews at the event.

Date and time: Friday, September 16th, 2016 from 10:00am - 10:30am

Location: The Mississauga Food Bank (3121 Universal Drive, Mississauga, ON, L4X 2E2)

Contact Information:

For more information, please contact:
Amanda King
Ontario Association of Food Banks