Being disabled is increasingly a trigger for poverty and hunger, according to a new report profiling food bank clients across the GTA.

The percentage of disabled people lining up at food banks has almost doubled since 2005, the Daily Bread Food Bank’s Who’s Hungry report states.

Disability beneficiaries receive so little money from Ontario’s social welfare programs they are forced to live in poverty, Daily Bread executive director Gail Nyberg said.

The steadily increasing number of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients relying on food banks is a concerning trend, she said.

My daughter just can’t believe the poverty she has seen this past week.

I was a bit surprised at this news, when she reached us by phone. Here, after all, is a young woman who has traveled to Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala and Bangladesh, and completed her university degree.

She had just left for a six-month stint, along with 17 other young adults from Nicaragua and Canada, to live with host families, learn each other’s customs and work with social agencies.

But my daughter wasn’t on the line from somewhere in the Global South. She was calling from Hamilton, Ont.

When times are tough, many families turn to food banks.

“Four million Canadians are living in households where there’s a struggle to afford the food that they need,” said Valerie Tarasuk, a professor of nutritional science at the University of Toronto. “That is a big problem.”

At St. Paul’s on-the-Hill Community Food Bank in Pickering, some shelves are almost empty: A result of a slowdown in donations over the summertime and the economy as many people have lost jobs.

“They’re lined up outside before we’re even open, “said Mae Herridge, a volunteer. “A lot of them have young children.”

Anti-poverty advocates have learned to welcome crumbs from the Ontario Liberals.

That is what they got in the five-year poverty reduction strategy unveiled by Deputy Premier Deb Matthews last week. The 56-page blueprint consisted of recycled promises, long-term goals, soothing language and self-congratulations (despite the fact she fell far short of her last five-year target.)