The number of households in Ontario turning to food banks for the first time appeared to increase significantly this year, according to an annual survey by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

In a report released Monday, the association compared food bank usage from March this year to the same month last year and found a 20 per cent spike in first time users.

That meant 17,182 households accessed food banks [for the first time – Ed.] this March compared to 14,206 households last year.

“That is huge,” association spokeswoman Amanda King said of the jump.