Graham Riches, emeritus professor and former director of the UBC school of social work, argues food banks have become part of the problem rather than the stopgap they were meant to be when they sprang up 30 years ago at the height of a deepening recession. He said they have become a permanent way of dealing with poverty that lets governments, corporations, and donors, off the hook.

If Food Banks Canada, which makes recommendations of the provincial and federal government in its latest report Hunger Count 2013, really wanted to end hunger, Riches argues, it would be organizing protests in the streets, but instead it keeps quiet to avoid upsetting corporate sponsors and government.

“We need to change the conversation away from one of rights to charity to one of rights to food,” Riches said. He argued everyone should be able to go into a grocery store and buy the food they want with dignity.