Hunger doesn’t hibernate and neither did you during the 2016/2017 Winter Food Drive! Because of your INCREDIBLE support, funds, volunteer time and enthusiasm we raised OVER $250,000 & 250,000 lbs. of food!
This means that we can provide 750,000 meals to people that are in need of food this winter. THANK YOU!
There were more than 200 food drives in our great city run by families, volunteers, businesses, schools, faith groups, community groups and more.
Some highlights of the Winter Food Drive include:
Incredible Employee Engagement
The TRCA has been a community partner of NYH for a number of years but recently we have done more projects and programs together. All of the TRCA staff are involved in food and fun fund events to support of the work of NYH!
They’ve collected food, held raffles and draws, hosted food events and had a great time doing it!
During the winter food drive, the TRCA came in to sort food and also held their annual holiday party in support of providing 5,525 meals this winter to families in our communities.
Foods from Around the World
Delarie Murphy, Mutsa A Mawora-Lewis and Sarkis Kurkjian are international students from Citi College . They joined the Winter Food Drive and proved it doesn’t take many people to make a BIG impact. Hailing from Syria, Jamaica & Trinidad; these incredible students raised 530 lbs. of food! Not only that but they knew that many people appreciate food that is familiar when visiting the food bank – so they made sure to donate food they enjoy from back home. Food bank users come from all backgrounds and it is greatly appreciated when they feel comfortable with the food they feed their families.
The Redtastic team is a group of volunteers that dedicate their time to support Kadian when she runs hundreds of sort groups throughout the year. Jane, Janet, Gord, Sari, Bonnie, Linda, Haley, Steve, Enzo, Laura and Willare always reliable and make a big difference in the warehouse. During the winter food drive they were extremely helpful by providing guidance and support to not only Kadian but to new volunteers. Even when a group isn’t scheduled they will make time to come sort during the slot available. They are incredibly dedicated and we couldn’t sort through all of the donations that make it on the food bank shelves without them!
Biggest Food Drive
We had a tie this year for the largest food drive. Schools around the city are huge contributors to the food drives and this year Ledbury Park PS& Faywood ABCboth raised an incredible 4500 lbs. of food EACH! That will provide 13,500 meals to the community!
Families Feeding Families
Michael Bros. Excavating has been a donor to NYH for many years. A company run by siblings Peter, Tullio and Rosemary; they care deeply about giving back to their community.
This year they encouraged employees, vendors and contractors to join them in providing food for families in need. They raised an incredible 2,714 lbs. of food and came by the office 4 times to drop off their donations.
“We are very proud of our employees and brokers and value everyone’s involvement and cooperation. We will definitely encourage our group to once again, collect and drop off non-perishable food in the spring for our Easter Drive.” says Rosemary.
Thank you so much to everyone that put their time, effort, funds and support into making this the best food drive yet!
Thousands of people right in your community are able to access the food they need to get by this winter because of YOU! Thank you!
We are amazed as always by the tremendous support we received during the winter food drive and look forward to sharing a food friendly 2017 with you!
With your support, we serve over 15,000 people that are hungry each month! As you can imagine, it takes A LOT of food to be able to provide meals for our neighbours in need.
Through generous donations of individual and corporate donors, we receive 100,000’s of pounds of food. But all of this food isn’t ready to go out to the food banks – it must be sorted for quality first.
I caught up with Kadian Clarke, a staff member at North York Harvest – she works with groups of volunteers to sort through thousands of pounds of food. Since January, she’s trained and sorted with over 1,000 people including employee groups, schools, sports teams as well as families.
“My favourite part of the job is teaching people about the foods in the food bank as well as building awareness of hunger in our city.”
It turns out in order to sort all of this food; there are many rules. The reason for this is so we can provide the best possible food to people in your community. That means we can’t accept damaged, unlabeled, expired or half-eaten foods (yes, all of these items come into the warehouse on a regular basis and must be sorted before they reach the food bank).
“There are 23 categories of food that go out to agencies.” Kadian tells me as she sets up the sort room for her next group. These categories include baby food, rice, nutritional supplements, snacks and proteins – others in higher demand than others. “The important part of sorting them into these categories is that we can better serve the clients with food they need. This way agencies don’t get a box of random items ranging from tuna to pudding cups when what they really needed was canned beans.”
We are extremely thankful for all of the donations that we receive, but some of them can be completely strange. I asked some of the staff what items they’ve seen through the years that made them raise an eyebrow.
We definitely see the wacky and the weird in our bins on a regular basis for example:
Graham crackers from a company that went out of business years ago
Vegetable soup that expired in 1995
Caviar that was 10 years past the best before date
Cut off shorts
Expired military rations
Thankfully, most donations received are exactly what our clients are looking for in a food hamper: items like canned fish, canned tomatoes, beans, rice and baby food. It’s important that we take the time to sort and categorize these items. Unfortunately sorting through unwanted items is a lot of extra work. And it takes valuable time and money to dispose of anything that is damaged or expired.
Volunteers come in to sort with their coworkers or friends and end the session knowing more about hunger in the city and why their help is so essential. The thing that Kadian sees volunteers take away from the food sorting experience is a sense of accomplishment within the community. “After each sort session, we share how many pounds of food were sorted and how many families they are helping. This way the volunteers get to see their hard work pay off first hand. The groups feel great about being able to make a difference.” And make a difference they do.