Every year, during our Fall Food Drive we invite the media to our office and warehouse. This event allows the media to focus attention on food insecurity in our communities during Thanksgiving.
The media will film and photograph volunteers sorting food in our warehouse and interview staff.
We’re looking forward to welcoming families to sort food with us on media day.
We will have 2 sorting sessions: 10am to noon and 1pm to 3pm. During the afternoon session we will be visited by Mayor John Tory members of the Northern Heroes – local superheroes dedicated to fighting hunger!
Sometimes we don’t realize how much our actions make a difference to people we’ve never even met. But I want to take the time to share with you how your actions of supporting your local food bank have changed lives and come full circle.
Mr. and Mrs. Perez moved here with their family over a year ago fleeing a very difficult situation back home. When they arrived, they found themselves needing to go to the food bank to help them get back on their feet.
Not long ago I had a chat with them as they were spending time volunteering with us. They told me that the reason they now volunteer in the food bank is because they want to pay it forward.
“I want others to know that someone out there cares for them. Coming from the situation in our past – it can be hard to understand that there are people who actually care.”
When the Perez family came to Canada, they struggled to find jobs because they didn’t speak English – which in turn meant they struggled to put food on the table for their children. “It wasn’t until we came to the food bank that we realized people really cared, from volunteers, to staff and donors – everyone wants to make sure that no one goes hungry. In a country like Canada, no one should have to.” Mr. Perez told me.
Unfortunately, the number of food bank users in our city keeps growing. According to the latest Who’s Hungry report, there were over 900,000 visits to Toronto food banks last year. That is a 48% increase in the suburbs since 2008.
Mrs. Perez told me that on their first visit to the food bank she was surprised at the kind of options they had, “I was able to find ingredients to make recipes that I used to make for my family back home. It really helped my children as a lot of this new Canadian food was strange to them”. Personally when I see the kind of donations that come into the food bank, I am also surprised by the vast variety and selection that sometimes gets donated. I think it is great that just because a person needs to use the food bank they still are able to have a choice as to what goes into their food hamper, just as they would if going to a grocery store. It’s also important that we have choice to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies.
It’s great know that Perez family have adjusted to Canada and glad to be a part of our community. It can be really hard picking up and changing your life. There are many worries that one can have in a situation like that – whether or not you’ll be able to have a meal shouldn’t have to be one of them.
These days Mr. Perez works at a full time job and speaks English very well. His kids go off to school each day having had a healthy breakfast and he just wants the same for people that are now where he was. Each week the Perez family go to the food bank they used to use but now they do to stock shelves and help others pick out groceries to feed their own families.
Mr. Perez loves giving back to his local food bank, “I am very grateful that I can give back to people that are just like I once was; worrying about whether their children are going to have something to eat that day or not. If not for the food bank, I might still be worrying.”
More than 16,000 people will use a food bank in your community this month. Because of you they will be able to leave knowing that their kids (and themselves) will not have to go without a nutritious meal to help them get back on their feet.
Please consider making a generous donation or volunteering to help our new neighbours get back on their feet.
I wasn’t always a member of your community. My family came here over 20 years ago for a fresh start and I was met with open arms by wonderful families that I now consider to be my family.
As new arrivals to Canada, we didn’t have the means to celebrate a Thanksgiving meal – but we were invited to share the holiday with a wonderful family that had us over to their home. And that really meant a lot.
They told us that the true meaning of the holiday is being grateful sharing what we have – they even told us more about our new country and the incredible fresh start and adventure we are about to enjoy. Thanks to their hospitality – I also had my first taste of pumpkin pie and it remains one of my favourite desserts up until this day!
These days I volunteer at a local community center that supports newcomers just like I once was.People can go there for food, ESL classes, cooking lessons and job placement support. I get to witness firsthand how generosity from people just like you go a long way to helping people build a new life here in Canada.
When I think about that special gift we received on our first Thanksgiving – this time of year really gets me in the mood to help people that are struggling to get back onto their feet. People right in our community.
This year I will be working with my community center, their staff, volunteers and even families who we’ve helped in the past and are now coming back to pay it forward, to ensure families who are struggling in the neighbourhood have a hot and festive meal on Thanksgiving and have enough food at home all month long.
And I want to invite you to join me and do the same.
Let’s Leave Hunger Behind and make this a Thanksgiving to remember. So that 20 years from now, when new families share their stories, they, like I do, will remember with joyfulness, their first fall in Canada.
We can’t do it without you though!
Join us for the 2016 Fall Food Drive to make this Thanksgiving and the rest of the fall a special time everyone can be grateful for!
There are many ways you can join me and the thousands of amazing people in our community working to make a difference!
Donate – For every $1 you donate, you provide 3 meals to a person that is hungry!
Volunteer – There are many great opportunities with the Fall Food Drive – join the NYH truck drivers to pick up and deliver food or come out to one of the many great events planned to raise food for our neighbours!
Run a Food & Funds Drive – This is a fun way to work together as a team with friends, family, classmates, coworkers and anyone else that would like to make a difference!
Join the Public Sort –Sort food at the NYH warehouse on October 9 for a great way to spend Thanksgiving weekend with your family while ensuring food is sorted and ready to be delivered to families in need!
Get Social! – Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media to spread the news about the food drive with these great shareables!
During this season of Thanksgiving, join me in showing our neighbours that we care about them.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend! I hope you are all looking forward to enjoying time and a nice meal with all of your families.
As I think about the abundance of delicious food that will be set at my table, I also am confronted with a troubling thought. Many families in our very own community will not have the luxury to sit down to a large dinner with their loved ones. Many won’t even have enough food to fill their bellies.
It’s a tough thing to think about. Thanksgiving is the time of year when we celebrate and are thankful for what we have and the food at our table. But it’s hard for someone to be thankful when they don’t have enough food to eat.
That is where YOU come in! Because of the incredible support from caring people like you, many of our neighbours are able to access nutritious food to feed their families.
As the weather gets colder and we get ready for Thanksgiving, the NYH Annual Fall Food Drive to raise $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food to provide 300,000 meals for our neighbours in need is in full swing. Your support will make an amazing difference in the lives of so many families in Toronto. Just $1 can provide 3 meals. Your small act of kindness today will make a lot of parents and children nourished and happy. Will you consider helping us reach this goal?
If you don’t have time to set up a food & fund drive yourself, donate online or make a food donation at local grocery stores and fire halls. For a list of where you can donate groceries, please click here.
Not sure what kind of items to donate? Here’s a handy list of food items that are in high demand, especially around this time of year.
If you are digging through your pantry to find items to donate, be sure that they are not expired. Items that are past the best before date are accepted. For more information on expiry and best before dates, check out our blog post.
You can make a difference in the lives of 13,000 parents, children and grandparents that rely on food banks every month. It is because of generous people like you that we can make hunger in Canada a thing of the past.
Let’s make this Thanksgiving a holiday that everyone can be thankful for.