In Canada, under 20 per cent of the population are children. Nevertheless, they account for almost 35 per cent of food bank recipients. This summer, Food Banks Canada is determined to fight these statistics through its “After the Bell” program. Last year, 130,000 healthy food packs were distributed across the country in an effort to nourish kids in need. This year, the organization hopes to deliver 150,000 packs, which contain both shelf-stable and perishable items.
For the past few years, North York Harvest has been fortunate to be part of this initiative. As one of the largest urban centres in Canada, communities across Toronto have been among some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. The situation is exacerbated by school closures and the winding down of various social support programs, including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Parents are no longer able to depend on meal programs and turn to food banks due to the lack of a better alternative.
Through the grant program North York Harvest is able to purchase fresh food such as apples, sugar snap peas, cheese, and yogurt to include in the nutritious food packs. With the support of Food Banks Canada the teams at our community food spaces and network agencies are better equipped to serve families and children throughout the summer months, and leading them into a brighter and healthier school year ahead.