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  1. Statement on Encampment Eviction

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    Adequate food and housing are both recognized as fundamental human rights, enshrined in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Canada signed in 1976.  The current rates of both food insecurity and housing precarity as well as the very existence of food banks, shelters and homeless encampments are all evidence that these fundamental human rights are not being realized for many of our community members.

    In 2012, North York Harvest Food Bank formally adopted “long-term food solutions” as part of our mission, recognizing that emergency food assistance could not adequately address the root causes of food bank usage, including the shortage of truly affordable housing in Toronto.

    The events at Lampton Stadium yesterday were disturbing to watch.  While we acknowledge that housing is a complex issue requiring cooperation from various levels of government as well as the public and non-profit sectors, we believe that there must be a better way to address this complexity than by forcibly removing residents from the encampments or threatening residents with fines that only serve to exacerbate their poverty.  Moreover, we know from our own work that the failure to address the actual root causes of poverty ultimately costs all of us in the form of increased expenses to our health care, education and justice systems.  A 2019 study from Feed Ontario estimated that Ontario loses up to $33 billion each year in this way due to poverty.  Our current strategies to improve this situation have proven to be woefully insufficient, inefficient and disrespectful to our most marginalized communities.

    We encourage all involved to reflect on yesterday’s events and work in good faith towards more humane and effective solutions.  North York Harvest is committed to learning from and working with the many frontline organizations that have been working tirelessly to support unhoused residents. We stand willing to provide any supports we can to displaced residents as well as to our partners in government and civil society in order to create truly long-term solutions to this crisis. 

     

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Noble

    Executive Director

  2. Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination

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    North York Harvest Food Bank’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by our organizational responsibilities to workplace health and safety and our commitment to human rights.  Just as we believe that all community members have a right to food, we believe that access to health care resources should be provided free from discrimination.  Sadly, our collective experience with COVID-19 demonstrates that this is not the case.  Community consultations conducted by Toronto Public Health “stated that COVID-19 has laid bare and exacerbated long-standing systemic inequities related to poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination” and that “inequitable access to the social determinants of health has provided favourable conditions for COVID-19 to spread in populations already marginalized by existing inequities, particularly Indigenous, Black, racialized and low-income communities”.[1]  To state it bluntly, our community members are at disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19 but not as likely to be able to access appropriate protections.[2]

    As an organization, we have spared no expense to make our workplaces and food spaces safe, to protect the health of our workers and to maximize access to emergency food assistance in our community.   We have committed to use guidance from public health experts as a minimum operating standard for all of our work.  This approach extends to vaccines.  While vaccinations provide individual protections from COVID-19, the primary goal of a vaccination campaign is to establish “herd immunity” whereby the majority of the population is immunized and COVID-19 can no longer spread.[3]  Our community will not be safe until this threshold is met.  As a result, North York Harvest Food Bank joins with Toronto Public Health to strongly encourage all Torontonians to get vaccinated if they are eligible to do so.   While we acknowledge that vaccination is an individual choice and that people may have valid reasons for not receiving a vaccination, we strongly believe that choosing to be vaccinated is an important way that all eligible Torontonians can support our work and our community. 

    North York Harvest Food Bank will facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations in any way that we can.  This includes using our food spaces to provide information and opportunities for vaccinations to our community members. 

    The availability of safe and effective vaccines provides us with a powerful tool to combat COVID-19.  I thank you for your commitment as we lend our support to local vaccination campaigns.

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Noble

    Executive Director

     

    Additional Information on COVID-19 Vaccinations

    Vaccine fact sheets from the government of Ontario

    Information on the rollout of vaccines from Toronto Public Health

  3. North York Harvest Launches 2021 Give 30 Campaign

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    Since 2012, Give 30 has been making a difference in communities nationwide, the United States and Australia. This grassroots movement was inspired by the Muslim faith’s Ramadan which takes place from April 13 until May 12, 2021. Regardless of of faith or background, everyone is encouraged to support partnering community organizations to fight hunger and food insecurity in our communities.  This  year, the campaign runs until August 31, which enables donors to extend their participation past the traditional 30-day campaign period. As a participating member agency, when you make a donation to Give 30 through North York Harvest Food Bank, your donation directly impacts the lives of families and individuals right here in your local community. By supporting one another, at times when we all need it most, we can each make a difference, together. 

     
    Find out more about the values, and vision of Give 30  along how this important initiative began with a singular idea and inspiration. Interested in learning how you can connect with others who are also taking part in this global movement? Become a Give 30 Fan on Facebook and follow Give 30 on  Twitter
     
    DONATE TODAY
  4. NYH Virtual AGM

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    North York Harvest Food Bank’s virtual Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday, February 23.

    The first part of the meeting covered North York Harvest’s business including a review of last fiscal year’s financials and discussions on organizational priorities.

    Board Chair, Habon Ali, thanked Jordan Hill and Tony Cancelliere for their invaluable contributions as they retired from the board. She also welcomed Sharmini Fernando, current ED of Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre, to the board.

    The remainder of the meeting was an interactive portion where member agencies, board of directors and staff contributed  their insight from their pandemic response and their outlook for the coming year.

     

    For more information, checkout the 2019-2020 Annual Report:

     

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    North York Harvest, in partnership with Daily Bread Food Bank, have released the 2020 edition of the Who’s Hungry report. For more than two decades, the Who’s Hungry report has profiled experiences of poverty and food insecurity among food bank clients. Every year, we survey clients through March and April, typically hearing the voices of more than a thousand people who are doing everything they can to access food for their families in an increasingly unaffordable city.

    Of course, 2020 has not been a typical year. While our survey collection was cut short after just two weeks due to the pandemic, we knew that food bank client voices were needed more than ever.
    During times of crisis it is too often those who are marginalized that are ignored both in response to the emergency and in recovery. Based on our annual survey, food bank client intake data, and the Hunger Lives Here research conducted at the height of the first wave of COVID-19, Who’s Hungry 2020 looks to the past, present, and future of food insecurity in Toronto to build a stronger, more resilient city.

    ACCESS THE REPORT   GET THE SNAPSHOT

     

    We can take a different path forward

    We can listen to the voices of those experiencing food insecurity and put poverty reduction at the core of recovery efforts.

    We can eliminate deep poverty by increasing social assistance rates, centering community-based responses in poverty reduction, and increasing refundable tax benefits for vulnerable populations.

    We can make employment a pathway out of poverty by implementing national, universal childcare, raising the minimum wage, enhancing employment standards and implementing a national pharmacare program.

    We can achieve affordable housing for all by providing immediate and long-term rent relief, increasing the supply of affordable housing, and ensuring that housing and development policies meet the needs of those with low incomes.

     

  6. Statement on Anti-Black Racism

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    June 3, 2020 – In the midst of a global pandemic, we are mourning the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet here in Toronto, George Floyd in Minnesota and the countless other Black individuals who have either died in the presence of or have been killed by police.

    Please read North York Harvest’s full Anti-Black Racism Statement 

    North York Harvest Food Bank’s vision where “all community members are able to meet their food needs” cannot be realized until we truly address structural inequality and dismantle the systems that foster discrimination.

    We stand in solidarity with all those who fight against anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and other forms of racism and oppression and with all those demanding racial justice.

  7. Latest COVID-19 updates

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    September 4, 2020 11:30 am – Labour Day Office Closure

    Please note that North York Harvest will be closed on Monday, September 7 for Labour Day. We will be back to service our community on Tuesday, September 8 as per our regular hours. 

    We hope everyone will continue to enjoy a safe and happy long weekend.

     


    August 24, 2020 1:30 pm – Join the Virtual Food Drive

    North York Harvest has gone virtual this year as a way of maximizing our fundraising efforts so we can get food out to even more people in need during the pandemic. A virtual food drive is like a regular food collection drive, except online and with the goal of raising cash donations to help us purchase food for people in need. 

    Sign up today to join North York Harvest Food Bank’s Virtual Food Drive and help support thousands in need of nutritious food. 

    A gift of $15 will allow us to put together a hamper with the most needed food items for an entire family. 

    Register to host your own fundraiser or join a team! You can also Donate to another fundraiser to help their cause. 
     

    July 31, 2020 3:30 pm – August 3 Holiday Closure

    Please note that North York Harvest will be closed on Monday, August 3 for the holiday. We will be back to service our community on Tuesday, August 4 as per our regular hours. 

    We hope everyone will continue to enjoy a safe and happy long weekend.

     


    July 15, 2020 3:30 pm – Toronto Neighbourhood Walks 

    A great story behind an excellent fundraiser! Last month, Jayden Daniels came up with an idea to help people in Toronto stay active during the quarantine while supporting people who were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Realizing that there were many areas in Toronto that people didn’t know about, he created a fantastic app called “Toronto Neighbourhood Walks” that offers audio walking tours of several Toronto neighbourhoods. 

    The app is free of charge but Jayden encourages users who enjoyed the experience to donate to North York Harvest to support those in need over the summer months. Jayden’s Toronto Neighbourhood Walks campaign officially launched last Friday and has since received a steady stream of donations from kind-hearted patrons. We are so happy that someone as creative and thoughtful as Jayden is looking out for our community during these unprecedented times!

    If you’re looking to support a great cause this summer, then look no further. 

    Download the free Toronto Neighbourhood Walks app on either iPhone or Android Devices, or donate directly to the relief fund on our website. 

    iPhone Download

    Android Download

    Toronto Neighbourhood Walks relief fund

     


    July 9, 2020 10:00 am – Bathurst Finch program cancelled today

    Due to flooding in our warehouse, our food bank program is cancelled today. Please note, if you had an appointment booked for today, your new appointment will be next week (Thursday, July 16) at the same time.

     

    Thank you for your understanding.

     


    June 30, 2020 3:00 pm – Head office closures for the rest of the week

    Beginning on July 1, North York Harvest head office will be closed for the rest of the week. We will reopen next Monday, July 6. 

    Have a safe and happy break!

     


    June 24, 2020 1:30 pm – CBC Community Cares

    As part of CBC Community Cares (a special day of programming to support local food banks), Metro Morning interviews a couple of clients waiting in line at North York Harvest’s Bathurst-Finch Community Food Space. 

    The full interview can be viewed below.

     


    June 19, 2020 3:30 pm – Making our work possible during the pandemic

    The demand for food banks has risen dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a challenge for North York Harvest to keep up with the increased food distribution while having many of our sites closed. However, throughout this great time of need we have helped thousands of families, children, and seniors with emergency food support. 

    We have our donors, supporters, partners, and staff to thank for making our work possible. Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rising demand and distribute hampers while maintaining a safe environment for everyone. 

     


    June 11, 2020 10:00 am – Race-based food insecurity 

    Black households are 3.56 times more likely to be food insecure than white households in Canada. Hunger disproportionately impacts people of colour who continue to face systemic discrimination an all fronts: whether it be rent, or employment, or access to quality food.

    North York Harvest Food Bank’s vision where “all community members are able to meet their food needs” cannot be realized until we truly address structural inequality and dismantle the systems that foster discrimination.

    We stand in solidarity with all those who fight against anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and other forms of racism and oppression and with all those demanding racial justice.

    North York Harvest’s Anti-Black Racism Statement.


    June 1, 2020 2:30 pm – Finding purpose for idle big city arenas 

    “It takes partnerships and some out of the box thinking.”

    When the Oriole Community Centre, just north of the Fairview Mall, was shut down due to COVID-19 concerns, it meant the busy food bank in the building needed to be moved. North York Harvest worked closely with city officials, eventually reaching an arrangement to open the rink next door, which has plenty of room for safe social distancing while dealing with the food demand.

    Read the full article from the Ottawa Sun here

     

    Before the arrival of COVID-19, we were serving 150 households per week. Now, 220 households are coming per week. Now, more than ever, we need your support


    May 24, 2020 3:30 pm – North York Harvest in the news 

    During the pandemic, your support has enabled us to provide emergency food support to thousands, convert public spaces into temporary food banks and much more.

    Please take a moment to read about  all that you have allowed North York Harvest to accomplish on our media coverage page.


    May 20, 2020 2:45 pm – Give 30

    Just because we have to keep apart physically, does not mean we cannot (virtually) come together in solidarity, compassion and kindness to help those in need.

    During this last week of Ramadan, we welcome anyone, regardless of faith or background, to support Give 30.  Even a small amount can make a difference for those who don’t have enough to eat.


    May 17, 2020 12:30 pm – Victoria Day hours

    Please note that North York Harvest will be closed on Monday, May 18 for the holiday. We will be back to service our community on Tuesday, May 19 as per our regular hours. 

    We hope everyone will continue to enjoy a safe and happy long weekend.


    May 15, 2020 1:00 pm – North York Harvest joins 58,000 non-profits call for stabilization fund.
     
    “It’s the increased expenses now and in the future that keeps [us] up at night.”
     
    While North York Harvest has remained open during the pandemic due to the incredible support from our supporters, donors, and partners, we require higher expenses to continue to provide emergency food services.
     
    In this article from the Toronto Star, read about how the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a growing need for our services and how Ontario non-profits have been affected.
     

    May 6, 2020 3:45 pm – Thank you from all of us at North York Harvest. 
     
     
     

    This Giving Tuesday, our staff wanted to take the time to thank everyone who has made our work possible: supporters, volunteers, staff, donors, and advocates.

    With your support, we served 24,000 people in our community, distributed 2 million pounds of food to people in need, and took bold steps to advocate for those who live in poverty. 

    From all of us, this is our way of saying “thank you”. 

    Thank you for all of your support and please keep safe. We couldn’t have done it without you.

     

    May 1, 2020 1:00 pm – A recap from our Executive Director. 
     
     
     
    A big thank you to thank all our partners in the public, private, and non-profit sector, and all of the support we’ve received from our community members. We also want to recognize our staff for getting food out to our communities quickly during these challenging times.
     
    We are stronger together, and North York Harvest will continue providing support where we can! 
     

    April 24, 2020 2:15 pm – An outpouring of support. 
     
    The global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a humbling reminder of our common humanity, but also the collective strength in working with one another. We are very grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the City of Toronto, our partners, other food banks, and especially our donors.
     
     

    April 17, 2020 2:30 pm – Many new clients in need of support. 
     
    We are all facing new and different challenges during these unprecedented times. Every day we receive over 100 inquires by phone (with a third of those being new clients). So many of our neighbours are finding themselves in need for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
    Even if you are staying safe home, please continue to help North York Harvest sustain our support for those who are most in need during COVID-19.
     
     

    April 13, 2020 2:50 pm – Startling stats from our Bathurst-Finch food space. 
     
    Last week we saw a 70% increase in client visits from the previous week. Two-thirds of those were not our usual clients. In fact, our new clients have more than doubled.
     
    If you wish to lend a helping hand, please visit northyorkharvest.com/urgent-support/ to make a donation.
     
    For information about our agencies, please call 416-605-7799 ext 0.
     

    April 9, 2020 2:45 pm – Good Friday. 
     
    North York Harvest will be closed for Good Friday. Our main office, deliveries, and food spaces will all reopen on Monday, April 13. 
     
    For more information, please call 416-635-7771 ext 0. 
     

    April 2, 2020 4:18 pm – An update and FAQ for food banks and agencies.
     
    Please know that North York Harvest and our partners are doing everything we can to ensure our community can continue to safely access emergency food support during this time. We have partnered with the City of Toronto, and in particular the Toronto Public Library, to quickly fill the gaps in service and continue to operate a network of food banks in northern Toronto.
     
    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
     
    What should I do if clients need food support?
     
    If you are responding to clients seeking food assistance, please have them contact our general referral line at 416-635-7771 for the most up-to-date information.
     
    Our program has had to close due to COVID-19, how can we help during this time?
     
    If your agency has closed and has food or cash donations you would like redirected to North York Harvest during this time, please contact lisas@northyorkharvest.com.

     


    March 30, 2020 4:30 pm – A short video update from our Executive Director, Ryan Noble, on what North York Harvest is doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We need your support to protect the most vulnerable in our community. We’re in this together.

     


    March 19, 2020 5:00 pm – In response to COVID-19, our food bank location and times may be subject to change.

    Please call our referral line at 416-635-7771 ext.0 or email us at info@northyorkharvest.com to confirm program hours before visiting a food bank.

    a


    March 19, 2020 3:00 pm – For all the latest updates, please follow us on social media. 

    Facebook
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    Instagram

     


    March 16, 2020 2:50 pm – North York Harvest remains open and will continue to support our community with emergency food assistance.

    With that said, the safety and well-being of everyone in our community, as well as our volunteers and staff, is our top priority and we are monitoring the situation closely and following the direction of Toronto Public Health, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization

    To ensure a safe environment for everyone, we are taking the following temporary measures:

    • Increased our on-site hygiene to provide hand-washing stations and encourage staff and visitors to wash their hands frequently.
    • Suspended volunteer operations from our premises (including our three food spaces: Oriole Food Space, Bathurst-Finch Community Food Space, Lawrence Heights Community Food Space) and are now deploying paid staff for all critical functions. 
    • Ensure that staff who have travelled will self-isolate themselves for the recommended 14 days. 
    • Encourage our staff to work at home if needed. 
  8. COVID-19 Temporary Measures

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    With the growing concerns over COVID-19, North York Harvest would like to provide you with an update on our response to date.

    The safety and well-being of everyone in our community, as well as our volunteers and staff, is our top priority and we are monitoring the situation closely and following the direction of Toronto Public Health, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization. With that said, we are continuing to support our community with emergency food assistance.

    To ensure a safe environment for everyone, we are taking the following temporary measures:

    • Increased our on-site hygiene to provide hand-washing stations and encourage staff and visitors to wash their hands frequently.
    • Suspended volunteer operations from our premises (including our three food spaces: Oriole Food Space, Bathurst-Finch Community Food Space, Lawrence Heights Community Food Space) and are now deploying paid staff for all critical functions. 
    • Ensure that staff who have travelled will self-isolate themselves for the recommended 14 days. 
    • Encourage our staff to work at home if needed. 

    We need your help during this crucial time!

    • With the closure of community centres, schools, and places of worship, we are losing our network and ability to distribute food.
    • Vulnerable families can’t afford to stock up during this time. With your help we can ensure they won’t go hungry. 
    • Children and families are impacted by school closures and hourly workers are temporarily without work. Your support can give them the meals they would normally have access to. 
    • Many of our fundraising endeavours have been postponed. Donations can help keep our shelves stocked for individuals who need food during this time. 

    Thank you so much for your support. 

    North York Harvest Food Bank

    DONATE TODAY