Tag Archive: blog

  1. Leadership in Logistics

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    Here at North York Harvest, on top of distributing food to more than 15,000 people each month, we are dedicated to long term solutions to poverty and creating sustainable livelihoods.

    That’s why with the support from the Metcalf Foundation and The Learning Enrichment Foundation we have launched an exciting new program for individuals currently receiving Ontario Works.  Aside from being a stepping stone in breaking the cycle of poverty, the program gives participants a chance to take charge of their own lives with the confidence and training to succeed in promising careers.

    Together we are able to provide skills development and experience-based learning right here in the NYH warehouse!

    Students like Tammy are able to gain valuable technical skills and certifications in our operating environment – after all, we are the food distribution hub for more than 77 food programs in the city.

    “Being a busy mom, I felt the program benefited me by giving me hands on work experience and training that was essential in coming back into the workforce.” – Tammy.

    This program is designed to propel graduates into careers in the warehousing and logistics sector. In fact, after Tammy graduated she became an instructor in the program paying it forward!

    Recently we have just had the honour of graduating another 10 students of the program.  This latest group of students is already off to having successful careers in the field with half of them already gaining employment while the others have exciting job interviews lined up!

     

    “I learned that if I stick with anything I can finish it! Everyone here is so supportive!” says Mark, one of the recent graduates.

    Saheed, another graduate also received some local fame, appearing in an article for the Toronto Star talking about how the program has given him a new opportunity in life.

    The Leadership in Logistics program is one of the many ways that North York Harvest is working to make a difference in the lives of our community members!

    We’re currently looking for mentors and employers to get involved in helping those seeking meaningful employment through this incredible program!  Please contact Rowena Power at 416-635-7771 x 30 or email rowena@northyorkharvest.com

    Are you currently receiving Ontario Works and would like to join other Leadership in Logistics students in learning high demand skills and certifications? Sign up here!

    Would you like to donate and help this program flourish? Click here!

  2. Leave Hunger Behind

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    We’re kicking off the 2017 Fall Food Drive and we want YOU to be a part of it!

    Your participation allows us to support food banks, food education programs, community kitchens and more.  These programs not only help people access food but bring people together all year long!

    Leave Hunger Behind this fall

    bank_cash_coin_coupon_discount_money_piggy_sale_save_saving-512Make a Donation

    Cash donations make sure we can purchase the healthy food our community needs when donated food supplies can’t meet the need.  You can even make your own fundraising page to share with friends and family here!

     

    082207-green-jelly-icon-business-cart5Run a Food & Fund Drive

    Get your friends, family and coworkers together.  Be creative and have fun while giving back.

     

    Donate Food

    The best items to collect for the food bank are canned fish, canned beans, canned tomatoes, cooking oil and rice.  

     

    hand-heart-iconVolunteer

    There are many ways to volunteer! Join us in the food bank, warehouse, on the truck, at events or in the office.

     

    conference-512Get Social

    Spread the word on all of your social media accounts.

     

    You can make a difference in the lives of 15,000 parents, children and grandparents that rely on food banks every month. THANK YOU!

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  3. Setting the Table – The Power of a Meal

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    A message from Aniska Ali,  North York Harvest’s New Director of Development and Marketing

    As Thanksgiving approaches, I, like many of you, am preparing to welcome family and friends to my home. Pumpkin printed napkins have been fished out of storage containers, recipes have been bookmarked, and shopping lists have been made. My daughter has been collecting leaves for weeks for our table’s centerpiece, her part of our family’s annual tradition. On Monday, she’ll help set the table, and I’ll fuss in the kitchen, bickering with my husband and my sister about how much sage to add to the stuffing and how frequently to baste the turkey. These are our rituals, these are the acts that make Thanksgiving familiar and special – these are things I’ll remember as time goes by.

    Food is a big part of my life. Talking about the power of it, and sadly, the lack of it for so many in our community fills my days. What often gets lost in our rush to make sure there’s enough is an understanding of the role food plays in uniting us. The sharing and enjoyment of a meal is a simple, but profound, pleasure that brings us together, across cultures, ages and backgrounds. Eating together is, and should be, a daily experience of connection.

    Unfortunately that is simply not the case for the 15,000 people we serve each month. Skyrocketing housing prices, precarious employment and social assistance rates that have failed to keep up with the cost of the living put the joy food brings out of reach for so many of our neighbours. Sadly, we know all too well that loneliness and isolation go hand in hand with living in poverty.

    That’s why North York Harvest offers programs like community kitchens to give people in our neighbourhood a chance to meet friends, cook together, and share a meal in a welcoming place.

    As Maudlyn, one of our members and a retired caterer told us recently, “This program is a commitment to myself.  It gets me out of the house to socialize with others. My favourite part is actually setting the table, it feels like we are having a real family meal”.

    Thank you for making stories like Maudlyn’s possible. Thank you for believing as we do that, everyone deserves a safe place where they can meet people, build friendships, feel included and eat delicious food regardless of their income. Thank you for investing in programs like these that make North York Harvest so much more than a food bank. We hope you know just how much your support means to us and the community we serve.

    From all of us here, Happy Thanksgiving!

    Looking for a way to make sure everyone has a place at the table? Make your gift here: https://northyorkharvest.com/donateffd/

  4. Who’s Hungry in Our City?

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    Each year North York Harvest Food Bank teams up with the Daily Bread Food Bank to release the annual “Who’s Hungry” report.  It is a snapshot of food bank use in Toronto.

    Surveys were conducted on a completely voluntary basis within participating food banks.  33 food banks participated and over 1400 surveys were used to create the report.

    This report always releases staggering numbers and highlights the problem with food insecurity in our local community and the affect it has on our neighbours in Toronto.

     

    Food Bank use in the Inner Suburbs has grown 68% since 2010

    We have been seeing a major increase in visits to the North York Harvest Food Bank.  Residents may be forced to leave the city core to find more affordable rent. Though being able to afford both rent and food is still out of reach for many.

    Who’s Hungry

    The growth in the east end has increased dramatically.  Food bank use in this area of the city has increased 30% compared to 4% or less in other parts of the city.  Many of the residents there are newcomers, having fled due to international conflict or natural disasters – most paying around 82% of their income on rent alone.

    “I HAVE COPED BY NOT EATING WELL OR SOMETIMES I DON’T EAT. ACTUALLY I DON’T EAT ABOUT ONCE A WEEK BECAUSE THERE ARE EXPENSES FOR MY ILLNESSES.” ~ SURVEY RESPONDENT

     

    Social Assistance just isn’t enough anymore

    The lack of sufficient income brings many people to food banks.  The average monthly income for clients is just $816.50. For a city like Toronto that will not even pay for rent on a one bedroom apartment.

    34% of adults have gone hungry at least once every week because they spend all of their income on rent and utilities leaving them struggling to pay for other items such as food, clothing and transit. Sacrificing food can lead to poor mental and physical health.

    Who’s Hungry

    “I AM DEPRESSED, HAVE GAINED 50 POUNDS. I HAVE LOST FRIENDS AS I CANNOT AFFORD TO SOCIALIZE OR HAVE TTC FUNDS TO GO TO THEIR HOMES.” ~ SURVEY RESPONDENT

     

    Usage of food banks by seniors has skyrocketed

    Within just a year, food bank usage of people ages 65 and up has increased by 26.8%!  It is also quite possible there is a higher need among seniors but many may not be able to attend the food bank due to barriers such as transportation or lack of physical ability.  

    Who’s Hungry

    22% of seniors have skipped meals for an entire day because they couldn’t afford to eat – for many of them, it happened almost every month. Many report using their small amounts of money on prescription medications.  Lack of food can worsen any pre-existing health problems seniors may have.

    Another reason that seniors are accessing the food bank more than ever is that many aren’t getting a boost to their income through the Guaranteed Income Supplement they may be entitled to receiving. The reason many are not receiving this benefit could be sheer lack of awareness, the difficulty in applying do to lack of technical support or language barriers.

     

     

    Read the full report here.

     

  5. Childhood Hunger Has No Place At School

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    Every day, people in your community rely on food banks to put food on the table for their families. In fact, North York Harvest helps more than 15,000 people meet their basic food needs each month. Many people don’t know that over 30% of people using our food bank are children – and a growing number of them in our community will be going back to school this year without enough food to be healthy and successful in school.

    Tricia is a teacher at Beaumonde Heights Junior Middle School, one of our local schools. She sees many students coming to school with empty stomachs. Her students understand what it is like to use a food bank – either because their own family uses one, or one of their friends.

    Beaumonde Heights JMS has hosted food drives for North York Harvest for 15 years, and this year is no different. All students get involved in the food drive to support their school, friends and neighbours. They know just how important these programs are.

    Of course, childhood hunger is a symptom of family poverty. North York Harvest and our agencies are on the frontlines of a childhood poverty epidemic: according to a recent report, nearly 27% of children in Toronto live in poverty. In the North York community, that percentage is much higher.  In some of our neighborhoods, almost 44% of children are living in poverty – and are much less likely to have access to enough healthy food to be successful in school.

    We are facing serious challenges in this community. But every day, we are inspired by acts of compassion from people like Tricia who are determined to make a difference in the lives of kids in North York.

    Today you can take action to join Tricia and the students from Beaumonde Heights in making a difference for kids heading back to school this fall.  By making a gift to North York Harvest Food Bank you will be helping thousands of kids and their parents that rely on programs that provide healthy meals and snacks.

    All children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances, deserve the same opportunity to succeed.

    Donate today to make a difference for kids in our community!

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  6. Community Food Spaces

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    The North York Harvest Food Bank offers a number of programs and services in addition to our warehousing and distribution operations. Our top priority in running these spaces is to have incredible customer service for anyone that comes to our programs.  

    Find out more about each of these amazing community spaces and those that we serve in these programs.

    Learn more about Oriole Food Space

    Learn more about Bathurst Finch Community Food Bank

    Learn more about Lawrence Heights Community Food Space

    Oriole Food Space

    The Oriole Food Space, located in the Oriole Community Centre at 2975 Don Mills Road West, is a multi-use community food space designed to build a healthy community, together, through food. It does so by offering a variety of programs, including community kitchens, drop-in food bank hours, food skills workshops, gardening workshops, and farm trips.

    Bathurst Finch Community Food Space

    The Bathurst-Finch Community Food Bank supports local individuals and families with food assistance and helps to create connections with other neighbourhood resources. The program also works to foster community participation and action around food-related issues and it will regularly host visiting agencies, deliver workshops and run field trips for participants.

    Lawrence Heights Community Food Space

    The Lawrence Heights Community Food Space is located at 6 Pengarth Ct.  The program provides an on site community food bank, community garden, as well as information and referral services to a wide range of community resources and supports, extending beyond food assistance.

     

    Would you like to support these amazing programs?  

    We’re always looking for donors to sponsor daily food bank activities, community kitchens, community gardens, farm trips and events that mean so much to our community members!  Contact Leslie to get involved –   416-635-777 x 21 / leslie@northyorkharvest.com

     

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  7. Our Favourite Recipes

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    Hungry for some meal inspiration?

    Maybe you’re looking for a great snack, dessert, dinner or potluck idea?

    A cherished recipe can either come down from a long family tradition or even just a favourite cookbook. In search of some new recipe ideas, I asked my fellow foodie co-workers what their favourite foods are to share with friends and family. 

    Hopefully you’ll feel inspired to give them a try and let us know how they turn out!

    Tofu Scramble

    Photo: Hot for Food

    “One of my personal favourite things to make is tofu scramble.  It’s easy, delicious, affordable and it wins over everyone I know that tastes it (even if they say they don’t like tofu)! Usually I make it without a recipe and it’s different each time, but when I first started out I used a recipe.  Try this one from Hot for Food!” – Lauren, Communications (NYH Blogger)

    Get the recipe!

    Pasta Salad

    Photo: Jaime Oliver

    “I’m sharing my secrets with you. I make this pasta salad for literally every potluck.

    It’s super fresh and great for summer because you get to use up so many herbs and tomatoes which I always have a ton of in the garden. Plus it’s vegan.” – Sahar, Community Engagement   

    Get the Recipe!

     

    Lasagna Roll Ups 

    “Lasagna, a more costly dish to make, can be much less expensive w/ tofu and egg and fancied up if rolled instead of layered.  I have tried this recipe with family, friends, and program participants over the years and all loved it.  In fact, all program participants thought the beef lasagna that we also made would taste better.  In the end, all couldn’t believe it how good the tofu was and all liked it more than the beef for its taste and price.” – Irene, Community Engagement   

    Get the recipe!

    Carrot & Lentil Soup

    “Carrot & Lentil Soup has full flavour and texture.  Carrots give the soup its colour.  Cumin gives the soup its wonderful aroma and flavour.  Blending the soup gives it its rich creamy texture but without the fat and is a great way to sneak veggies into the meal of kids (or big kids) who don’t like veggies = )” – Irene, Community Engagement

    Get the recipe!

    Herbed Breaded Chicken

    “This cookbook (Healthy Eating by Anne Lindsay) is my favourite one because my parents gave it to me on the first day of university. It is my favourite recipe because both of the girls like to help with the preparation and they both enjoy eating it as well as their friends when they come over.  It is also quick and easy to capture the interest of the kids.” – Leslie, Fundraising

    Get the recipe!

    Peanut Sauce

    I love this recipe because it is a traditional popular food which provides me the tropical taste I am missing so much. Also, the ingredients are easy to get wherever you are in the world, it provides several vitamins, and it has been proved that most of the people from abroad are likely to like this recipe than other African food.” – Hawa, Fundraising

    Get the recipe!

    Raw Zucchini Salad

    “This is my dish of the summer because it’s quick, easy, light and DELICIOUS! No cooking involved and makes use of a food that if you have a garden you have way too much of!” Rowena, Operations

    Get the recipe!

     

    Jamaican Curry Chicken

    “Growing up with my grandparents in Jamaica was amazing. My Grandmother would always be in the kitchen handling business. We’d wake up breakfast and come home to dinner. The kitchen is always smelling delicious from the aroma of flavors. I was always the pickiest eater in the house so most things I wouldn’t eat. However, while mama was in the kitchen cooking I would keep her company by reciting Louis Bennett ( A Jamaican poet) poems to her. We were never forced to learn how to cook but she is always willing to teach us. Instead of her cooking extra just for me to eat I would ask her, ‘Mama, what’s the easiest and quick food I can cook that would also be filled with flavors?’ and of course she said curried chicken. Up to this day if you ask my friends what’s the first food I’ll offer to cook them when they visit? The answer would be curried chicken.” – Kadian, Fundraising

    Get the recipe!

     

    Banana Bread

    “Here is my fave recipe, Banana Bread.  It is originally from my friend Lillian.   She is Italian, and the recipe is from her grandma.  She called it Nonna Banana Bread.  Unfortunately, she passed away two years ago from cancer.  Our family loved this recipe from the day I got it from her, which was 28 years ago.  My 2 sons and even my dog Peanut would wait for me to take out from the oven.  In less than 5 minutes, one loaf would disappear.  It reminds me about Lillian every time.” – May, Accounting

    Get the recipe!

    Carrot Cake

    “This is my favourite recipe to bring into work because it always puts a smile on the faces of my coworkers!” – Jane, Administration

    Get the recipe!


    What are YOUR favourite recipes? Share them below in the comments or visit us or tag us on Facebook!

    For more of our recipe recommendations, visit our Pinterest Board!

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  8. From Farm to Food Bank

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    It’s always great when we can provide fresh and healthy food to people using the food bank!

    Did you know that local farms are also amazing supporters of the food bank? We rely on farms in the area to provide fresh food donations each week!

    Because of our incredible donors at Lincoln Mushroom Farm, we’re able to ensure that our neighbours have access to great, organic produce!

    I joined NYH driver, Alberto on a road trip to Stoney Creek, ON for a lovely tour of the farm as well to pick up a large donation of delicious mushrooms!

    Check out our photo tour!

    Alberto and our tour guide Bob are showing off only SOME of the mushrooms at the farm!

    Did you know mushrooms were grown inside?  This is one of eighteen growing rooms!

    Baby mushrooms in one growing room

    Ready to be picked

    I love portobellos!

    Filling one of the grow rooms with compost for the next batch

    Employees packing mushrooms for the food bank!

    Behind them is the size of delivery Lincoln Farms made to the food bank that day!

    After loading the truck with mushrooms to help the food bank, meal programs, community kitchens and much more!

    Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, fibre, minerals and vitamin D – a perfect addition to any meal.

    What is your favourite mushroom recipe? Here are some great recipes to try out next time you pick some mushrooms up for your family!

    Do you or someone you know have a farm and would like to donate fresh produce to help over 15,000 people that use NYH services each month?

    We’d love to share your passion for healthy food with our community!  Contact Rowena at 416-635-7771 ex 30 / rowena@northyorkharvest.com to learn how you can help!