“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” — Hélder Câmara, Brazilian Catholic Archbishop, 1909-1999

If Jesus came back to Earth on his birthday this Christmas, one of his first missions would be to close food banks — all of them.

Not because they aren’t vitally important in feeding the poor but because food banks are not a solution to poverty — and never will be.

HungerCount is probably the most widely disseminated, frequently cited data produced in Canada in regards to the issue of hunger and food security in the country. Its numbers are high, and they should be jarring.

But those numbers are misleading…

“When you look at these reports, what they give you the impression of is that they’re stats on the problem. They’re not,” Valerie Tarasuk, a researcher based out of the University of Toronto, told VICE.

“It’s service utilization. If we were trying to look at the health of Canadians, would we look at the number of ambulances that drive by?” The issue, in other words, is right in the name: Food Banks Canada isn’t actually counting the number of Canadians who are going hungry.

Metro Morning host Matt Galloway welcomed Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne to his “Sounds of the Season” program on December 3rd.

Before the premier’s arrival, activists from Put Food in the Budget and their allies had been busy handing out the <a href=”http://putfoodinthebudget.ca/PFIB_foodbank_postcard_2015_download_version.pdf”>PFIB 2015 food bank postcard</a> to the hundreds of early-risers waiting in line outside the Glenn Gould Theatre.

Here’s the conversation …

“We asked our clients at the food bank, what needs to change in your life so that you do not need us any longer? What we heard from them was, ‘I need affordable housing. Seventy per cent of my income is going to my rent, I need more money,'” she said.

“These people are trying to live on money that is just not enough, and they need affordable daycare.”

Canadians have been duped into believing that we can keep hunger at bay by donating to our local food banks. We teach our children to give to those who are not as fortunate and have less than we do. But, after three decades it’s time to implement sustainable solutions that will allow every Canadian to have financial and food security.