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!
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.
For many Toronto children, summer is a time for savory barbecues and fun-filled picnics. You yourself may be lucky enough to enjoy a holiday getaway with your friends and family this summer.
But right now families in your community need your support more than ever.
Many children from low-income families depend on food programs at their schools for lunch or breakfast. Sadly, in the summer months, these kids go without many of these important meals.
This time of year is even more difficult for working families who also have to pay for daycare (when the children are not in school).
The reality is . . . families in our community struggle even harder to put food on the table during the summer.
There are over 16,000 people who must use the food bank every month. 40% of these people are children.
Almost two thirds of the children who rely on North York Harvest Food Bank every month are under the age of 11. That means that of the 6,000 children going hungry every month – close to 4,000 children under 11 are without food.
But together we can make a huge difference in the lives of people in your community that struggle to put food on the table.
Our shelves are almost empty and we are out of stock on key items such as canned tomatoes, rice, beans, cooking oils, baby food and canned fish.
With 47 member agencies and 77 food programs throughout Toronto needing orders filled, we are having a hard time making those orders possible. We’ve had to cut back on deliveries because we are simply out of stock.
The shelves, freezer and fridge are bare. But YOU can help make a difference!
Comments Off on “I wanted to make sure others have the same chance I did.” – How Theresa Pays it Forward
Asking for help is hard.
When Theresa visited our Lawrence Heights Community Food Space for the first time, her hands were shaking. “I was so embarrassed to have to ask for food,” she remembers. The single mother was desperately in need of help to put food on her table, but we often hear, Theresa felt ashamed of her situation.
Theresa’s situation, however, is not unlike the ones many others face in Toronto. “I was new to the city. I came here because I thought I’d be able to find work. But it was harder than I expected.” Because of the generosity of our community, Theresa was greeted warmly by Julie, our Food Bank Manager.
She walked away with the food she needed and a new sense of belonging. Just like 1 in 3 of our clients, Theresa wanted to “pay it forward”. Even though she was in a time of personal crisis, she was determined to give back so others could receive the same help she had. She became a volunteer to create a safe, friendly space for her neighbours who were also struggling.
“I told Julie to call me whenever she needed help – day or night. I wanted to make sure others have the same chance I did. I know this community needs help, so I’m helping in the way I can,” Theresa insists with a shy smile.
Stories like Theresa’s happen at North York Harvest agencies every day. Emergency food assistance makes life a little better and restores a sense of purpose and hope. People come in for help and find a community.
Your support makes sure that providing emergency food support is just the beginning of our relationship with people like Theresa. And just like you, Theresa is committed to building a healthier Northern Toronto.
Will you join Theresa and give what you can to make sure our community members in need can find healthy food across Northern Toronto?
Comments Off on Income Security: A Roadmap for Change
Recently the Ontario government released a new report in an effort to deal with the issue of income security, something that affects all of us.
North York Harvest is the primary food bank for all of northern Toronto, representing more than 1/3 of the geography of the city. Each month we ensure that more than 16,000 individuals receive vital food support. Over the 30+ years our organization has been serving this community the demand for emergency food support has never been as high as it is today and we believe numbers will only continue to increase.
We are so happy to see this type of report coming out of government. This is the first report during our 30 years supporting our community that recommends major investments in and improvements to programs that affect the lives of low-income people in Ontario. The report demonstrates a commitment to a fundamentally different approach to supports and services, putting people, and their needs and rights, at the centre.
We ask you to adopt these recommendations, but, especially where OW and ODSP rates are concerned, ten years is too long to wait.
We see clearly, at our food banks and beyond that far too many Ontarians need support immediately; people are going hungry, losing their housing and suffering unnecessary health crises at this very moment because they simply do not have enough money to live a healthy and dignified life in this province.
At North York Harvest we are deeply concerned with the current state of the income security system in Ontario. 1 in 8 households in Toronto are food insecure meaning that they lack the access to the food they need to properly feed themselves or their families. Thousands of children, seniors, single parents and adults are going hungry each day in Ontario.
Food is one of the very few “flexible” costs in the lives of people on low-incomes. We know people are skipping meals, or going whole days without food, so that they can pay for housing, prescriptions and so their children can eat. This is unacceptable anywhere, but especially in a province as progressive and wealthy as ours.
The reason for this is quite clear. People cannot access the food they need because of inadequate incomes.
29% of food bank clients in Toronto are on OW and 35% are on ODSP. The fact that the majority of people we see coming through our emergency food programs are receiving social assistance clearly shows that the rates are unacceptably low.
Food banks provide an undeniably important support to thousands of people. But food banks do not replace an adequate social safety net and cannot solve the problem of food insecurity. Simply put, food bank clients will never be able to access the food they need to feed themselves and their families without sufficient incomes.
We support the vision, principles and recommendations in the Roadmap and know that, if acted upon, they would have a deep impact on the well-being of people on low-incomes in northern Toronto and would do so with dignity and respect.
We urge the province to adopt these recommendations and to do so as quickly as possible. Government must take action now to make life better for low-income people in Ontario.
Comments Off on
Hi There! My name is Harvey and I’m a North York Harvest delivery truck. I have an amazing job! Every day I get to drive around northern Toronto delivering nutritious food to our neighbours in need. Maybe we’ve crossed paths once or twice?
I get to visit 77 community programs in North Toronto, including food banks, shelters, meal programs, prenatal programs, community kitchens and after school programs. My job is to make sure that the food that you donate gets into the hands (and stomachs) of people that rely on these programs.
Not long ago I met Holly, a food bank member and volunteer when I dropped food off to her local food bank. She wanted me to share this message with you:
“Because of the Food Bank, not only have I made new friends, and gotten the food I need to stay healthy, I was also given the gift of giving back. I no longer just have a place to live, I have a home!”
My next stop is Kathryn. She helps women get the nutrition they need to raise healthy children. This is especially important because in some parts of the city (including where Kathryn works) 1 in 2 children live in poverty. That statistic is heartbreaking, so we’re pitching in to help. Together we’re making sure Kathryn has the food she needs to provide expecting moms with hot meals, nutritional advice and food to take home.
Later in the morning, I visit Norma. Norma runs a seniors lunch program in her neighbourhood. She told me she was so happy to see me because my delivery makes sure seniors have a hot meal to eat and friends to share it with. Thank you for making that possible! Your support allowed me to bring healthy food to Norma so she could cook up a feast for her neighbours. She told me about the first meal the group shared together – homemade chicken noodle soup. “I was almost in tears when a client told me she couldn’t remember the last time she had homemade soup.” The idea of having a homemade bowl of soup may not seem like much, but to the people I visit, it makes a world of difference.
My last delivery is to Layla at the Oriole Food Space. Layla lost everything when she had to leave her home country. Thanks to your support of the food bank, she had somewhere to go to help her get back on her feet. She wanted me to share this message with you: “Because of the food bank, I was able to feed my kids, feel safe and build a new life. I am so grateful.”
As you can see, my job is super important. But I can’t do it without you. Just like you need to fuel yourself up for busy days, I do too. Do you think you can help us raise $5000 to keep me on the road? Each month I make sure that more than 16,000 people get the food they need to thrive – and they, just like everyone else at North York Harvest Food Bank (especially me!) would be incredibly grateful for your support!
Just $50 will keep me on the road for an entire day! And if you make a gift of $250 it keeps me truckin’ for an entire week – that’s a LOT of deliveries thanks to you! THANK YOU!
Often when we think of poverty, we don’t think about how deep the problem is in our very own backyard.
In North York, poverty hides in high rise apartments, rooming houses and shelters. Often food is the last priority on a long list of bills that must be paid by our neighbours who are struggling to make ends meet each month.
All too often, we hear stories like Holly’s.
“I always thought I could do it on my own. I was able to pay my rent, phone, and medications with the little money I had. Food was always last on my list. Being a type 1 diabetic that takes insulin every day, eating properly is very important. I soon realized that I could not do everything on my own.
I found the food bank and soon found out I was receiving more than help with my food. I found a sense of community”.
Because of skyrocketing housing prices, unsteady employment and social assistance rates that have failed to keep up with the cost of the living in our city – thousands of our neighbours are struggling to get by each day. Together we can change that.
Your support provides more than food. It provides social inclusion through programs like Community Kitchens, employment readiness training like our Leadership in Logistics program and ensures we can continue to invest in long term solutions to end hunger and poverty. We know that food banks alone aren’t the answer. With your help, we can make sure providing essential emergency food support is just the start of the relationship we build with those that need us most.