Latest Posts

  1. Act Now: Win for You and Your Community!

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    North York Harvest 50/50 Raffle is back!

    Following the success of our previous 50/50 Raffle, we are launching our Summer 50/50 Raffle Draw! Every purchase goes towards our Agency Network Empowerment fund , which means the purchase of any ticket will be a win for you and a win for our community!

    The online raffle kicks on July 20, 2022 until August 25, 2022. The Early Bird draw will take place on August 6, 2022 with a cash prize of $250. The Grand Prize draw will happen on August 26, 2022, with at least $1,000 cash prize.

    Early Bird tickets are available now. Sales will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on August 5, 2022. The draw for the winner will be announced on August 6, 2022. The winning number will be announced on our social media channels.

    You can select from the following three ticket pack options:

    Regular: 6 tickets for $10
    Discount: 20 tickets for $20
    Ultimate Savings: 300 tickets for $40

    BUY YOUR TICKETS!

     

    For complete details including rules of participation and frequently asked questions, please visit www.northyork5050.ca

     

  2. Thankful for Your Support On Giving Tuesday

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    Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving back that kicks off the giving season. This is a day when individuals and businesses join together in support of charities. It is a time to amplify, celebrate and encourage activities that support our community. Whether you’re volunteering time, helping your neighbour, spreading the word, or making a donation, Giving Tuesday is a movement that offers everyone the opportunity to create change, have an impact and make a difference in their community.
     
    At North York Harvest, we are continuing to focus all our efforts on providing emergency food assistance. We are not able to do it alone. We are incredibly thankful for the support we have had from our community.
     
    Your generosity helps us ensure that everyone is able to put food on their table and feed their families during what continues to be very challenging times. 
     
    Here is a special message from our Board Chair, Habon Ali sharing more about how you make our work possible.

    Thanks to you, more than 2,5000 people in our community were able to be supported each week.

    Thank you for helping our community meet their food needs, we couldn’t have done the work we do without  the kindness, support and  generosity from all of you!

  3. Education At the Heart Of Community

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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
    together.

  4. Who’s Hungry 2021

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    Who’s Hungry 2021 – From Crisis to Resilience: A City’s Call to Action

    In partnership, Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank have released Who’s Hungry 2021. This year’s report is a call to action from a city in crisis, and explores ways in which together, we can build greater resiliency.

    ACCESS THE REPORT GET THE SNAPSHOT 

    There were close to 1.45 million food bank visits in the past year, the highest number of visits ever recorded in the city’s history and close to 1.5 times greater than the previous record set in 2010 in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

    For the first time, new clients accessing Toronto food banks outnumbered existing clients, as unemployment and underemployment soared.

    Some of the key findings of the report include:

    • Food bank clients are experiencing severe food insecurity. 51% of respondents missed a meal to pay for something else. Of food bank clients that identified a disability, 41% went a whole day without eating food, compared to 20% who did not identify a disability.
    • Clients had a median of $9.17 left per person per day after rent and utilities were paid; for racialized respondents it was $6.67. If a food bank client takes two trips on the TTC, traveling to work and returning home, they would be left with only $2.77 at the end of the day. This is not enough to pay for food or other necessities.
    • Food bank clients continue to struggle with employment uncertainty. One in five respondents reported that their employment will not last more than a year.
    • 80% of food bank clients living in private market rentals (i.e. not subsidized housing) were paying more than half of their income on housing, putting them at high risk of homelessness.

    The pandemic will not be the last emergency we face as a city. To move from crisis to resiliency in Toronto, we need all levels of government to continue to address the immediate fallout from COVID-19 by supporting low-income households who continue to struggle with job losses, reduced employment hours, and precarious housing as a direct result of the pandemic.

    At the same time, we need to look to the future to build greater resiliency through systemic change by reducing precarious employment, improving income supports, investing in affordable childcare, and rapidly expanding access to affordable housing.

    The time to act is now.

    As part of North York Harvest’s commitment to providing dignified food assistance, education, advocacy, and long-term food solutions, we will continue to collaborate with the other community organizations, the government, and our partners in the private sector to achieve our vision of a community where all members are able to meet their food needs.

  5. Door Dash Delivers for Students

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    As students return to campuses everywhere, many are on even tighter budgets than usual. In some cases students didn’t have the same job opportunities during the summer months, making it even more challenging when they return to school. As a result, some of our busiest member agencies operate on university and college campuses.

    Over the past year, many of us have enjoyed ordering takeout from our favourite restaurants and dining in the comfort of our homes. These days the simple luxury of ordering takeout after a long week, may not be in the budget for many of our friends and neighbours. As a result of these circumstances, DoorDash recognized the need for additional support in communities nationwide, and has partnered with a number of organizations nationwide to make takeout delivery easier for families and individuals nationwide.

    At North York Harvest, DoorDash’s donation of $10,000 worth of gift cards was distributed to Seneca College students in September. For budget-conscious students, having access to a $25 DoorDash gift card, was a wonderful way to give a healthy and hopeful kickstart to the upcoming school year.

  6. Building Strong Community Partnerships

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    Operating a food bank has many unique challenges, many of which has been further amplified because of the COVID-19
    pandemic. “Once COVID hit, North York Harvest was put into a position to change how business was done,” says
    Dianna Stapleton, volunteer and board chair at Weston Area Emergency Support (WAES). Stapleton has worked in the food
    security industry for more than 30 years, with much of her time spent volunteering with WAES which means she understands
    the unique needs of small food banks. At the beginning of the pandemic, WAES would not have been able to keep its doors
    open and support families, and individuals in need had it not been for North York Harvest. “We spent a lot of time with the
    team at North York Harvest trying to figure out how to get food so that we could assist the community,” she says. It was
    through this support that enabled WAES to access alternative avenues for food and donations that would not have been
    possible for a small organization.“Sometimes we get into a routine and may not think there’s a better or different way to do things,” she explains. “Having the other members in North York Harvest’s Agency Network to tap into their expertise, is one of the biggest benefits.” Without the traditional networking opportunities that many other types
    of businesses have, Stapleton and her colleagues at WAES value the regular meetings with other professionals in the food
    security space for the chance to also share experience and celebrate shared success. As we all work towards basic income
    that allows for affordable housing and accessible food many would agree with Stapleton, “Food banks are an emergency
    room in a hospital, you don’t want to use it but you are glad when it is there.” At our core, it’s important for community
    member to not feel a stigma around needing their support.

  7. Home Upgrades At No Cost to You

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    It won’t be long before we’re all thinking of ways to stay warm indoors but for many people heating costs are an added expense that can be challenging to fit into your budget. North York Harvest is proud to work with Enbridge Gas once again, to help North York  community members reduce their heating costs.

    Now in the second year of working with Enbridge Gas, the company’s Home Winterproofing Program is assisting more families and individuals at a time when they need it most. At North York  Harvest, we are strengthening our community by
    continuing to work together with partners such
    as Enbridge Gas. If the cost of heating your home is stretching your budget, the Enbridge Gas Home Winterproofing Program can help. Whether  you’re a homeowner or renter, if you qualify, you’ll receive free energy-saving upgrades to lower your natural gas bill and make your home more comfortable.

    What can I receive?

    The free upgrades include draft proofing to seal air leaks, new insulation to increase comfort and
    a smart thermostat to allow you to save energy
    easily, even when you’re away from home. All upgrades will be installed by a professional, at no cost to you.

    How do I qualify?

    The program is open to Enbridge Gas customers who meet the income guidelines or if you already
    participate in a government assistance program
    such as Ontario Works. Your home also needs to
    be heated with natural gas and the account must
    be in your name.

    If I rent my home, can I qualify?

    Yes, if you meet the income guidelines. You’ll  also need written permission from your landlord
    before the upgrades can be installed.

    Is this program really free?

    Yes! If your household income qualifies, there’s absolutely no cost to you. By helping homes reduce energy use Enbridge Gas is doing its part  in the fight against climate change. “It feels like my house has a warm blanket around it,” Dwana,
    program participant.

    How does it work?
    If your household qualifies, you’ll first get a free
    home energy assessment scheduled at your convenience from a trusted program delivery agent. Qualified contractors will then complete the installation of all upgrades, plus cleanup. A follow-up visit will also be scheduled to confirm that your home upgrades have been completed and that you’re satisfied.

    Please note that Enbridge Gas is actively  monitoring the latest COVID-19 updates  from public health and government officials. All program delivery agents follow the recommended guidelines during in-home visits,  including physical distancing, personal protective equipment and sanitization precautions. Find out more and apply to the program sign up online.

  8. Local Artists Showcase Their Support

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    From connecting ideas to creating awareness to enhancing a public space, there’s no question that art matters. Over the past year, it has been challenging for many of us to finds of staying connected with one another. For local artists, giving back to the North York Harvest community has not only supported individuals and families, it has helped create a positive connection for artists, adding more meaning to their work.

    In June the North Toronto Group of Artists held their second annual fundraiser in support of North York Harvest. This event features the work of more than 40 local artists showcasing their work through an outdoor art exhibit and walking art tour. For many community members, the exhibit provided an opportunity to engage with artists and purchase artwork while also supporting the work of North York Harvest. Bringing together the community, showing support on a local level, impact this group of artists continues to have on the North York Harvest community is an inspiring example of what can be done with a little creativity and community spirit.

    Wild Bunch, Sheila Merer IG: @sheilamererart

     
    You Take My Breath Away, Madeleine Greenwald IG: @maddygreenwaldart
     
    Date Night at the Buffet, Melissa Morrow IG: @memocreative
     
    The North Toronto Group of Artists is run by volunteer artists. Representing the work of over 50 local artists who produce visual fine arts in various form. Learn more about the organization or specific artists at ntga.ca.