Like almost one third of families in Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods, Patricia McKenzie has abandoned the mainstays of modern life for a far more basic staple: Food.
The Dawes Road resident would likely find no surprises in a new University of Toronto study that suggests two out of three families in the city’s poorest neighbourhoods are unable to get enough to eat.
“And 28 per cent of those were in a category that we would call ‘severe food insecurity’,” says study co-author Sharon Kirkpatrick, who helped conduct the research as part of her U of T doctoral thesis.
“They had indicators … of food deprivation and actual reduction in food intake. Things like cutting or skipping meals and going a whole day without food being the most extreme,” Kirkpatrick says.
The study surveyed 500 families in 12 neighbourhoods designated as being among the city’s poorest.
The study was conducted between October 2005 and January 2007; Kirkpatrick says the economic downturn has worsened the problem.