Tag Archive: food bank

  1. Act Now: Win for You and Your Community!

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    North York Harvest 50/50 Raffle is back!

    Following the success of our previous 50/50 Raffle, we are launching our Summer 50/50 Raffle Draw! Every purchase goes towards our Agency Network Empowerment fund , which means the purchase of any ticket will be a win for you and a win for our community!

    The online raffle kicks on July 20, 2022 until August 25, 2022. The Early Bird draw will take place on August 6, 2022 with a cash prize of $250. The Grand Prize draw will happen on August 26, 2022, with at least $1,000 cash prize.

    Early Bird tickets are available now. Sales will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on August 5, 2022. The draw for the winner will be announced on August 6, 2022. The winning number will be announced on our social media channels.

    You can select from the following three ticket pack options:

    Regular: 6 tickets for $10
    Discount: 20 tickets for $20
    Ultimate Savings: 300 tickets for $40

    BUY YOUR TICKETS!

     

    For complete details including rules of participation and frequently asked questions, please visit www.northyork5050.ca

     

  2. Education At the Heart Of Community

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    Food insecurity has been a longstanding concern in North York’s Keele and Finch neighbourhood where
    ANIDA Foundation is located, but over the past year and a half the organization’s executive director Samuel Donker says that need has grown exponentially.

    “Pre-pandemic we served 30 to 60 people bi-weekly, now it’s 350 depending on the needs of seniors,” he says. According to Donker, the way in which North York Harvest responded to its member agencies during the pandemic helped keep their program running in very real ways. “There was a lot of uncertainty but the resources we had access to allowed us to continue to serve clients safely,” he says. Shifting their operations from indoors to outside required tents, vests for staff and access to technology, all of which were facilitated by North York Harvest. Grant funding also helped ANIDA launch a seniors delivery program which continues to serve 100 seniors on a bi-weekly basis.

    Along with providing nourishing food, ANIDA is also focused on feeding minds through educational programs. “We have a reading program for children along with a book bank thanks to our partnership with Indigo,” explains Donker. “Having the food bank allows us to offer access to our other resources and programs which people wouldn’t otherwise know were available.” As with other member agencies, food is the connection to education and so much more as we all work towards building healthier communities
    together.

  3. Door Dash Delivers for Students

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    As students return to campuses everywhere, many are on even tighter budgets than usual. In some cases students didn’t have the same job opportunities during the summer months, making it even more challenging when they return to school. As a result, some of our busiest member agencies operate on university and college campuses.

    Over the past year, many of us have enjoyed ordering takeout from our favourite restaurants and dining in the comfort of our homes. These days the simple luxury of ordering takeout after a long week, may not be in the budget for many of our friends and neighbours. As a result of these circumstances, DoorDash recognized the need for additional support in communities nationwide, and has partnered with a number of organizations nationwide to make takeout delivery easier for families and individuals nationwide.

    At North York Harvest, DoorDash’s donation of $10,000 worth of gift cards was distributed to Seneca College students in September. For budget-conscious students, having access to a $25 DoorDash gift card, was a wonderful way to give a healthy and hopeful kickstart to the upcoming school year.

  4. Building Strong Community Partnerships

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    Operating a food bank has many unique challenges, many of which has been further amplified because of the COVID-19
    pandemic. “Once COVID hit, North York Harvest was put into a position to change how business was done,” says
    Dianna Stapleton, volunteer and board chair at Weston Area Emergency Support (WAES). Stapleton has worked in the food
    security industry for more than 30 years, with much of her time spent volunteering with WAES which means she understands
    the unique needs of small food banks. At the beginning of the pandemic, WAES would not have been able to keep its doors
    open and support families, and individuals in need had it not been for North York Harvest. “We spent a lot of time with the
    team at North York Harvest trying to figure out how to get food so that we could assist the community,” she says. It was
    through this support that enabled WAES to access alternative avenues for food and donations that would not have been
    possible for a small organization.“Sometimes we get into a routine and may not think there’s a better or different way to do things,” she explains. “Having the other members in North York Harvest’s Agency Network to tap into their expertise, is one of the biggest benefits.” Without the traditional networking opportunities that many other types
    of businesses have, Stapleton and her colleagues at WAES value the regular meetings with other professionals in the food
    security space for the chance to also share experience and celebrate shared success. As we all work towards basic income
    that allows for affordable housing and accessible food many would agree with Stapleton, “Food banks are an emergency
    room in a hospital, you don’t want to use it but you are glad when it is there.” At our core, it’s important for community
    member to not feel a stigma around needing their support.

  5. Local Artists Showcase Their Support

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    From connecting ideas to creating awareness to enhancing a public space, there’s no question that art matters. Over the past year, it has been challenging for many of us to finds of staying connected with one another. For local artists, giving back to the North York Harvest community has not only supported individuals and families, it has helped create a positive connection for artists, adding more meaning to their work.

    In June the North Toronto Group of Artists held their second annual fundraiser in support of North York Harvest. This event features the work of more than 40 local artists showcasing their work through an outdoor art exhibit and walking art tour. For many community members, the exhibit provided an opportunity to engage with artists and purchase artwork while also supporting the work of North York Harvest. Bringing together the community, showing support on a local level, impact this group of artists continues to have on the North York Harvest community is an inspiring example of what can be done with a little creativity and community spirit.

    Wild Bunch, Sheila Merer IG: @sheilamererart

     
    You Take My Breath Away, Madeleine Greenwald IG: @maddygreenwaldart
     
    Date Night at the Buffet, Melissa Morrow IG: @memocreative
     
    The North Toronto Group of Artists is run by volunteer artists. Representing the work of over 50 local artists who produce visual fine arts in various form. Learn more about the organization or specific artists at ntga.ca. 
  6. Growing Stronger Through Our Network

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    Over the past 18 months, our partner agencies have been able to rely on our ongoing support in many different service areas. Operated by volunteers, Community Share Food Bank has been able to continue helping more than 150 families meet their food needs every week. Established in 2005, Community Share Food Bank provides fresh and non-perishable food to families on a weekly basis. As a member of our agency network, Community Share strives to provide healthier, more food secure community by creating a space where people can come together and feel a sense of belonging. Community Share Food Bank, that would not have been able to serve the community without resources available through North York Harvest.

    “Being able to lean on North York Harvest’s expertise as a larger, parent agency that has emergency plans in place and the resources available, we can grow, build and move forward in a much stronger way.” Diane Enhorning, past chair Community Share

    As a partner with North York Harvest, during the pandemic Community Food Share relied even more to get up and running quickly. Beginning with getting access to the Toronto Public Library’s Don Mills location to developing the infrastructure needed to operate safely, Diane credits the partnership with North York Harvest as being a major contributing factor to the ongoing success of Community Share’s programs.

    Now with a program manager in place, along with policies and procedures and the connections Community Share has established as a North York Harvest partner agency, Enhorning is looking forward to continuing to work, learn and grow. With brighter days on the horizon, it is an exciting time for Community Share to be able to bring additional resources and programs to the neighbourhood.

  7. Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination

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    North York Harvest Food Bank’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by our organizational responsibilities to workplace health and safety and our commitment to human rights.  Just as we believe that all community members have a right to food, we believe that access to health care resources should be provided free from discrimination.  Sadly, our collective experience with COVID-19 demonstrates that this is not the case.  Community consultations conducted by Toronto Public Health “stated that COVID-19 has laid bare and exacerbated long-standing systemic inequities related to poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination” and that “inequitable access to the social determinants of health has provided favourable conditions for COVID-19 to spread in populations already marginalized by existing inequities, particularly Indigenous, Black, racialized and low-income communities”.[1]  To state it bluntly, our community members are at disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19 but not as likely to be able to access appropriate protections.[2]

    As an organization, we have spared no expense to make our workplaces and food spaces safe, to protect the health of our workers and to maximize access to emergency food assistance in our community.   We have committed to use guidance from public health experts as a minimum operating standard for all of our work.  This approach extends to vaccines.  While vaccinations provide individual protections from COVID-19, the primary goal of a vaccination campaign is to establish “herd immunity” whereby the majority of the population is immunized and COVID-19 can no longer spread.[3]  Our community will not be safe until this threshold is met.  As a result, North York Harvest Food Bank joins with Toronto Public Health to strongly encourage all Torontonians to get vaccinated if they are eligible to do so.   While we acknowledge that vaccination is an individual choice and that people may have valid reasons for not receiving a vaccination, we strongly believe that choosing to be vaccinated is an important way that all eligible Torontonians can support our work and our community. 

    North York Harvest Food Bank will facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations in any way that we can.  This includes using our food spaces to provide information and opportunities for vaccinations to our community members. 

    The availability of safe and effective vaccines provides us with a powerful tool to combat COVID-19.  I thank you for your commitment as we lend our support to local vaccination campaigns.

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Noble

    Executive Director

     

    Additional Information on COVID-19 Vaccinations

    Vaccine fact sheets from the government of Ontario

    Information on the rollout of vaccines from Toronto Public Health

  8. The Amazing Race Canada at NYH

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    Do you watch The Amazing Race Canada? If so, we have a special surprise that we are so incredibly excited to share with you!

     

    North York Harvest Food Bank will be featured on an upcoming episode of The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition!

    As part of our incredible partnership with Dempster’s (Canada Bread), we were offered the exciting opportunity to welcome the cast and crew of the show into our warehouse to give us a hand sorting bread to be distributed to the food banks and community programs in North York.

    Host Jon Montgomery and all of the teams joined us as they each came up with their own unique ideas of how to make this challenge work for them.  It was an exciting day for our staff and volunteers and we hope you enjoy watching this special episode!

    Don’t forget to tune in to CTV on Tuesday, August 7th at 8:00pm to catch all of the action!

     

    And if you miss the show, it will be available online the following day at https://www.ctv.ca/The-Amazing-Race-Canada

    Do you want to be a hero just like the Amazing Racers? We are in need of your support to provide healthy food for our neighbours more than ever during these summer months. Please donate on behalf of our URGENT Summer Campaign.

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