Over 50,000 people in Niagara struggle to afford healthy food. The struggle to make ends meet is a source of tremendous stress and anxiety, often making it difficult to focus on anything else. When people are forced to choose between healthy food and paying rent, shelter becomes the priority. With the rising costs of living and fluctuating unemployment rates, more people are pushed to make these difficult choices. Having access to nutritious and affordable food is essential in order for people to live active, healthy lives. While many in the Niagara Region are not starving, food insecurity means that an
individual or family struggles to put healthy food on the table. It also can mean they may have to frequently skip meals, or be forced to make choices between nutritious meals and cheaper, less healthy options.
Lack of essential nutrients can have a profound effect on a child’s healthy development and a diet of primarily processed foods can affect concentration, energy levels, and general wellbeing. For many individuals and families, buying fresh or organic foods is too expensive and unfortunately, packaged, over-processed, unhealthy meals or fast food is more affordable when your finances are already stretched.
United Way is committed to making Niagara a food secure community. We are leading the Niagara Food Security Network initiative to drive collaboration among the many food security programs. We support programs and services that assist people in accessing and obtaining the nutritious food they need to live healthy, active lives and ultimately thrive. We often invest in programs such as community kitchens, school meal programs, food distribution initiatives and community gardens.
United Way is the dedicated home to the Niagara Community Garden Network. Community gardens provide numerous health benefits, including improved access to food, improved nutrition, increased physical activity and social connectedness as well as improved mental health and wellbeing. Read more about our community gardens here.