Feeding hungry Canadians with donated, surplus food is a practice that was imported in the early 1980s from the USA and has become the primary task of charitable food banks. Yet, “food charity,” supported by the food industry and corporate social responsibility, does not work.

Framing food insecurity as a matter of charity is ineffective and ethically challengeable. It also disguises the true extent and causes of food insecurity, namely income poverty and underemployment. Furthermore, it stigmatizes low-income individuals and undermines their human right to adequate food and nutrition. Government looks the other way. Public policy is neglected.