Food Banks Can’t Take A Summer Vacation

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Toronto is a great place to spend the summer days. Trips to the island, ball games at the Rogers Centre, and bike rides through the park all help keep my days filled with fun and excitement. I am however, one of the lucky ones. For many people in this beautiful city, summer can be a season of stress and worry. The unfortunate reality is that hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation, and neither can food banks.

If you live in Toronto you know that times are tough for many of your neighbours. Unemployment is high, and as the cost of living continues to sky-rocket, even those with full time jobs are struggling to makes ends meet. More people now depend on food banks than ever before, and during my time at North York Harvest Food Bank I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many of them, and hear their stories.

A few weeks ago I spoke with Suzie Anderson, a client at North York Harvest Food Bank.  Suzie lives in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood of Toronto, where she shares a government housing apartment with her mother and her 3 children. Right now she’s unemployed, and while she’s hopeful of finding a job soon, currently she depends on Ontario Works for all of her expenses. She budgets, saves and sacrifices, but after rent, utilities and her student loan, it’s become impossible for Suzie to work food for five people into an already stretched budget.

“Things are tougher in the summer time” Suzie told me, “my kids are home from school and don’t have access to the school’s meal plan. I do my best to plan ahead, but things come up and there have been times where we’ve had to skip meals.”

Suzie isn’t alone. This month alone over 13,000 of your fellow Torontonians will access our food banks. It’s a daunting number, and one made even harder considering that the summertime is the period when we see our lowest donation levels.

That’s why we need you. This summer, even a small donation can have a dramatic impact on the lives of a neighbour. Let’s take a minute and look at the numbers.

  • Send a donation of $20, and we can feed 4 children at a youth shelter for a month.
  • Make a contribution of $30, and we can provide 3 children with lunch at day camp for all of July.
  • Give a gift of $50 and we can give 3 meals a day to a senior for the entirety of August.

So before you get outside to enjoy the sunshine, take a moment to consider those who are in need. This is the time when our community needs us the most, and in turn it’s the time when your generosity is most required. Only you can keep our shelves stocked and our fridges full. Together lets make this a beautiful summer for everyone.

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