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Food insecurity has been a longstanding concern in North York’s Keele and Finch neighbourhood where
ANIDA Foundation is located, but over the past year and a half the organization’s executive director Samuel Donker says that need has grown exponentially.
“Pre-pandemic we served 30 to 60 people bi-weekly, now it’s 350 depending on the needs of seniors,” he says. According to Donker, the way in which North York Harvest responded to its member agencies during the pandemic helped keep their program running in very real ways. “There was a lot of uncertainty but the resources we had access to allowed us to continue to serve clients safely,” he says. Shifting their operations from indoors to outside required tents, vests for staff and access to technology, all of which were facilitated by North York Harvest. Grant funding also helped ANIDA launch a seniors delivery program which continues to serve 100 seniors on a bi-weekly basis.
Along with providing nourishing food, ANIDA is also focused on feeding minds through educational programs. “We have a reading program for children along with a book bank thanks to our partnership with Indigo,” explains Donker. “Having the food bank allows us to offer access to our other resources and programs which people wouldn’t otherwise know were available.” As with other member agencies, food is the connection to education and so much more as we all work towards building healthier communities