What if you simply couldn’t afford the food your child needed to be well?
That’s an issue that I must face each day.
My name is Jessica. My 9 year old son, David, lives with a disability. His doctors say he has to avoid processed foods with lots of salt and sugar because they can make his condition worse.
As you know, it’s much easier to afford processed foods than it is to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and whole grains. It can be such a struggle just to get a healthy meal on the table.
That’s why I am so grateful for North York Harvest Food Bank as well as the donors and volunteers that make these programs possible. Being able to visit the food bank makes giving David the food he needs so much easier.
I know how much these foods matter to families using food banks, not just from the impact they make in my home, but through my volunteer work. I’ve been volunteering at the food bank for as long as I’ve been a client. When we have fresh food to offer, I watch my neighbours faces light up.
I come home from every volunteer shift knowing I made a difference.
And we need YOU to help us make a difference more than ever this summer!
Summer is a difficult time at the food bank. Food donations aren’t as frequent so we have less food to share. With the kids out of school, they don’t have access to school food programs that are vital to their health.
So many of the families I see at the food bank are going through the same thing. This is why your support is so important right now.
By making a gift to North York Harvest, they can purchase the food our communities need, so no one is forced to go without during the summer.
I know what a difference your support of the food bank makes. Every time I sit down with my kids at the table to share a meal, I feel grateful that I’m part of a community that cares so much about each other.
Be a Summer Hero and your impact will be TRIPLED this summer. Every $1 you give, will be stretched to $3 worth of meals for people in need of food in your community! DONATE TODAY!
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.
Isn’t it amazing what can happen when a community comes together to complete a project and make a difference?
With your generous support, North York Harvest has become the primary food bank in northern Toronto. Thanks to you we are able to give nutritious food to over 77 food programs in the city.
But what if we could take it another step further? What if we could produce a food product to even out the supply and quality of food received through donations?
The vision of North York Harvest is a community where all members are able to meet their food needs. Our mission is to engage our community in meeting the food needs of northern Toronto by providing dignified food assistance, education and long-term food solutions.
Each day we strive to meet that vision and mission.
As a community, we have succeeded in kickstarting a new social enterprise thanks to partnerships right here in Toronto.
Through the generous support of the Metcalf Foundation’s Inclusive Local Economies program, we were able to forge important partnerships with other local organizations working to improve food security in unique ways. Through these partnerships, we launched three incredible initiatives – we began delivering food to local child care centres, we launched the Leadership In Logistics skills development program, and we piloted community-oriented food production system. Through the last project, we successfully brought an affordable, nutritious dry soup mix to our local community.
With funding secured we were able to team up with FoodShare and Food Starter, to create a dry soup mix that promotes access to affordable, delicious and nutritious food for all.
To get started, North York Harvest asked our agencies what types of food were most needed and hardest to supply for the clients.
Within the agencies, there was a need for a hearty, vegetarian soup made with beans and rice that was nutritious but also easy to prepare. For certain dietary needs, it was also important that the soup was low in sodium but still flavourful without being spicy.
Together through our partnerships, we made a unique Moroccan Lentil Soup. It was sold in FoodShare’s Good Food Boxes and the Grab Some Good pop-up markets operating on various TTC subway platforms. And what is even better is for every soup sold… another soup goes on the shelf for someone using the food bank!
It was a hit!
To prepare the soup mix, we teamed up with the Experiential Learning program at York Humber High School. The students in this program have special needs and are encouraged to learn life skills through hands on training and real life experience. Each week the students would join Vanessa Yu from caterToronto at Food Starter to prepare several bags of soup that would be given to our community.
When I met the kids I asked what their favourite part of making the soup was and they seemed to all enjoy sealing up the soup packages the most! They even took soup home to cook and enjoy with their families.
The kids’ teacher, Carmi, says ‘We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity for some of our students to participate in a meaningful real work experience with the NYHFB. Students really enjoyed the experience and gained valuable employability skills while increasing their self-esteem. It was wonderful to watch them learn new skills and progress each week. We all look forward to continuing our partnership with the NYHFB and thank them for all their support over the last few months.’
We are so excited to move forward with this project and to be able to share this soup with you!
There are some pretty amazing and thoughtful kids in your community!
One of the greatest partnerships that NYH has in the community is with our local schools. The partnership allows us to educate students about food security in their community and show them why people they know such as schoolmates or even friends and family use a food bank. In turn, students take on a very large and important role in advocating for support of everyone’s food needs. From food drives to fundraising, we are so incredibly grateful for these amazing kids!
Our guest blog is by Christmel, Ayse and Aishat in grades 4 & 5 at Blaydon Public School!
Written by Christmel and Ayse, Presidents of Healthy Fit Company & Aishat, Production Manager (Grade 4/5)
On April 26, 2017, the grade 4/5 class, with the help of some grade 3 students, organized and ran a Fit Fair! There were all kinds of activities with the goal of helping our school community stay fit. From smoothies to basketball, yoga to origami and so much more!
Our main goal was to donate $300 to North York Harvest Food Bank, but we ended up raising $1082! It was a lot of planning and organizing but it was a great success. Representatives from the North York Harvest Food Bank visited our class the week after our event and told us that of all of the schools that have fundraised for them, we were the school that raised the most. That means, we were able to provide over 3000 much needed meals!
We thought the Fit Fair made the most sense with our vision of helping our school become healthier and more fit. And since food plays an important role in being healthy, we decided to donate all the profits to the food bank. At this time of year, the food banks have more need than supply, so this was the perfect opportunity to help out! This was an amazing experience for everyone that took part. With our hard work and your involvement and generosity, we all made this wonderful act of giving a reality at Blaydon PS!
Great work promoting healthy eating and living in your community! Thank you Blaydon PS!
Are you interested in getting your school involved in a food drive? Check out the Food Drive Kit.
Would you like to join us in providing healthy food for members of your community? Make a donation!
One everyday hero located right in your community is Kayla*. I recently had the opportunity to meet Kayla at the North York Harvest Annual General Meeting back in February. We were in a workshop together and she shared her experiences as a food bank volunteer. I needed to hear more so I could share her story with you.
Kayla has been a volunteer at her local food bank for more than two years dedicating her time six days per week. This is quite incredible as Kayla suffers from many health issues such as a degenerative disk disease in her back, panic attacks, insomnia and is waiting to have knee surgery. This doesn’t stop our hero though; she chooses to work through the pain to make a difference in the lives of her neighbours in need. “If I could have sleepovers here I would!” jokes Kayla.
Kayla’s tasks at the food bank include receiving deliveries, stocking shelves, serving clients and records management. She even packs and delivers food hampers for the “Fresh Start” program that does home deliveries for seniors as well as those unable to physically make it to the food bank.The services she and her other fellow volunteers provide benefit children, families, seniors, those with disabilities and people who can’t leave their home.
A typical food hamper from a NYH food bank
Regardless of Kayla’s health problems, she feels that giving her time at the food bank gives her something else to focus on and a purpose. She strives to make a difference in the lives of her fellow neighbours. This can be done through her daily food bank tasks or even going above and beyond to help someone in need. One particular story of Kayla’s is a time that she was able to assist a client with her job search. The client had needed to know CPR in order to be eligible for a job but could not afford the training. Kayla took the time to research and found a course that was offered for free.
Kayla told me that seeing a smile on the face of someone she has helped is so rewarding in her work.
It absolutely blows me away when I see this kind of dedication from volunteers. And it is throughout the network! Each day volunteers take time out of their day to come in and help their neighbours meet their food needs.
Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to have incredible stories like this to share.From you to me, me to Kayla, Kayla to the client and back to you again – we are really part of something bigger than ourselves. I feel that being able to share these stories truly closes the circle of connectivity in our community
Join Kayla in being a community hero!
Together we all work as a community to make a difference for more than 15,000 people that access these types of programs each month!
Give a special gift to a special someone in your life! A donation in honour of your mom, grandma, aunt, godmother or another incredible person in your life will help provide food for people in need this month!
Together we can make a difference for more than 400 people that will use a food bank this Mother’s Day!
We can send an email to let her know of your gift in her honour!