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Nicola Moore recently released her first song, “The Arrow.” A singer-songwriter, peer advocate at the Hamilton Community Food Centre, and single mother of three children under nine, she’s made the most of any pandemic-induced “lulls” in her life by writing music. “I could sit here and get Ontario Works payments or I could do something about it and change my life, which is what I’m trying to do right now,” says Moore. “Advocacy and singing are my way out.“

A first-time gardener on a community plot, Moore is ecstatic when describing her harvest: cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, squash, tomatoes, a variety of herbs and an abundance of kale. She’s also in the midst of a project at work, illustrating how to spin a can of chickpeas a multitude of ways so others — like herself — can transform the canned items they get on monthly trips to the food bank.

food map

As the title of the report suggests, food insecurity is further-reaching than hunger. Rooted in poverty, it impacts health, severs relationships, impinges on happiness and a sense of self-worth, and chips away at employment opportunities, the CFCC found.

Eighty-one per cent of participants said food insecurity takes a toll on their physical health; 79 per cent said it impacts their mental health; 64 per cent said it erodes relationships; 59 per cent said it affects their kids; and 57 per cent said it makes it more difficult to find and keep a job.

“These are all key things that add up to people being pushed further to the margins and their lives being diminished — and frankly, the data shows, shortened as a result of being food insecure,” says Nick Saul, CEO of CFCC.

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