The National Advisory Council on Poverty (NACP) said rising food costs are driving Canadians to hopelessness and desperation, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. “We noted a growing sense of hopelessness and desperation,” said the NACP in a report. “Persons with lived expertise of poverty and service providers alike told us things seem worse now than they were before and during the first years of the pandemic.”Right now, the NACP said people are worried about the rising cost of living and inflation, adding more people “are in crisis and these crises are more visible in our communities.”Poverty rates fell to as low as 6.4% in 2020, but NACP predicted new figures this year will put the rate at 9.8%, representing about four million Canadians. It called recent increases in the cost of living “one of the most important socioeconomic challenges faced by people living in Canada following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Therefore, this will put more pressure on poverty rates. In speaking to people, it said the feelings of hopefulness and optimism for change Canada saw early in the COVID-19 pandemic have faded. “Hopelessness and desperation have replaced these as the cost of living continues to increase,” it said. Statistics Canada surveys of grocery store checkout scans detail double-digit increases in prices for basic foods year over year. It found in its last report Canadians were paying 12% more for carrots, 14% more for ground beef, 18% more for peanut butter and 27% more for baby formula. “Chronic issues are becoming more acute,” said the NACP. “These include inadequate income, unmet housing needs and houselessness, food insecurity and worsening physical and mental health.”A report conducted by analysts at four Canadian universities on December 28 showed an average family of four is expected to spend $16,297 on groceries in 2024.READ MORE: Canadians to spend $16,297 on groceries to feed family in 2024One of the authors suggested Parliament create a food stamp program for Canadians who cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables.“In 2024, it is probable Canadians will continue to experience the strain of food inflation compounded by increasing costs of housing, energy and various other expenditures,” said the authors.