Tag Archive: food banks canada

  1. Summer Heroes

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    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!

  2. A Lot of Plates to Fill

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    Did you know that 918,724 Canadians will use a food bank this summer? Those are A LOT of plates to fill!

    Did you know that food banks around the entire country are teaming up to  fill every plate?

    And did you know that we can’t do it without YOU?

    It’s time for Canada’s Largest Food Drive!

    Join us May 28 – June 8 to put food on the table for everyone in Canada!  Together, with the help of thousands of your fellow Canadians, we are saying NO to hunger this summer!

    Your generous contributions through Every Plate Full will help families so they don’t have to choose between paying the bills and putting healthy food on the table.

    Your support allows us to

    Purchase healthy food and meet the growing need across our 47 member agencies and providing items such as beans, canned tomatoes and other healthy staples.

    Provide fresh, seasonal produce to distribute in food banks, summer programs, seniors’ meal programs and many other vital community services.

    Ensure children can access healthy food when they are not in school.

    Meet the needs of people’s specific dietary requirements such as low sodium, high fibre meals.

    Let’s make a huge difference, TOGETHER!

    This year is even more exciting – this year YOU can make your own team pages to raise funds and see your efforts in real time! Through the new Peer 2 Peer giving platform you can form a team or joining an existing one!

    Amp up your employee fundraising at work and have a competition to see who can raise the most funds!  Grab your friends and show the world how much you can raise!  Make things easy for your organization by having an online group to share messages and see your impact.  

    Best of all – it’s FREE to participate!

    Make a team TODAY and join thousands of Canadians to FILL EVERY PLATE!

    Create or Join a Team here!

    Make a single donation here!

     

    Thank you!  Together our country is making a big difference in the lives of people who are hungry!

    Any questions about Every Plate Full? Contact Leslie Venturino at 416-635-7771 ext. 21 or leslie@northyorkharvest.com

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  3. Childhood Hunger Has No Place At School

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    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.

    Donate today to make a difference for kids in our community!

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  4. Community Food Spaces

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    The North York Harvest Food Bank offers a number of programs and services in addition to our warehousing and distribution operations. Our top priority in running these spaces is to have incredible customer service for anyone that comes to our programs.  

    Find out more about each of these amazing community spaces and those that we serve in these programs.

    Learn more about Oriole Food Space

    Learn more about Bathurst Finch Community Food Bank

    Learn more about Lawrence Heights Community Food Space

    Oriole Food Space

    The Oriole Food Space, located in the Oriole Community Centre at 2975 Don Mills Road West, is a multi-use community food space designed to build a healthy community, together, through food. It does so by offering a variety of programs, including community kitchens, drop-in food bank hours, food skills workshops, gardening workshops, and farm trips.

    Bathurst Finch Community Food Space

    The Bathurst-Finch Community Food Bank supports local individuals and families with food assistance and helps to create connections with other neighbourhood resources. The program also works to foster community participation and action around food-related issues and it will regularly host visiting agencies, deliver workshops and run field trips for participants.

    Lawrence Heights Community Food Space

    The Lawrence Heights Community Food Space is located at 6 Pengarth Ct.  The program provides an on site community food bank, community garden, as well as information and referral services to a wide range of community resources and supports, extending beyond food assistance.

     

    Would you like to support these amazing programs?  

    We’re always looking for donors to sponsor daily food bank activities, community kitchens, community gardens, farm trips and events that mean so much to our community members!  Contact Leslie to get involved –   416-635-777 x 21 / leslie@northyorkharvest.com

     

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  5. Soup’s On!

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    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!

    Thank you to all of you that made this happen:

    The Product – Moroccan-Style Red Lentil Soup

    Combination of red lentils, brown rice and five different spices

    Low in calories, high in fibre and a source of protein

    No added sugar, salt, flavours, colours or preservatives

    Easy to prepare – just add water and simmer for 40 minutes

    Delicious on its own, or scalable to individual dietary needs – a great base for added meats, vegetables, salt or spices to taste

    Sold by FoodShare and distributed to food banks by North York Harvest Food Bank — promotes access to affordable, delicious and nutritious food for all

     

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    Join the conversation – we’d love to know your thoughts!  Leave a comment below.

  6. Everyday Hero

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    Guest blog by Shirah Stern

    Not all heroes wear capes.

    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

    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!

    Donate today!

    Volunteer!

    *Name changed

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  7. A Chance to Rebuild

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    daffodil_Winter2

    Guest Blog by Daffodil Davis

    When you lose everything, where do you turn?

    Each and every day in the food bank I meet people from all walks of life.  Each with their own story to tell.  But even though the story is different, we all have a similar goal in life… to take care of our families.

    I first met Layla when I was working at Oriole Food Space in North York.  She moved to Canada with her family to seek refuge from a home that was no longer safe.

    “Everything was gone. Our home, our jobs, our kids couldn’t go to school anymore. We were scared,” she shared with me.

    She came to Canada and was able to reconnect with members of her extended family already living in our community. Layla and her family were overjoyed with the chance to start anew after a life of uncertainty and fear. “My kids were enrolled in school and my husband was working in a restaurant. It finally seemed as though things were turning around for us.”

    But then the unexpected happened. Her husband suffered a severe heart attack and could no longer work at his restaurant job to support the family.

    Once again, Layla felt like she had lost everything. She had to make sure that her kids had a roof over their head and food in their bellies.  Unsure of how to support her family, she turned to one of her new neighbours for advice.  They told her about her local food bank.  She didn’t even know that such places existed in our community to help her and others in need.

    Because of YOUR support, we are able to help people like Layla to make sure that they have access to nutritious food.  Thank you for making a difference!

    Daffodil and OFS Volunteers

    Daffodil and OFS Volunteers

    We are also able to help with referrals for other community programs to assist newcomers with their language skills, resume building and child care. 

    Layla had lost many things, but it doesn’t have to mean that it is lost forever. “Because of the food bank, I was able to feed my kids, feel safe and build a new life. I am so grateful.” 

    Together we can help people in need rebuild what was lost.

    As we enter into the coldest months of winter, the food bank shelves will begin to empty.  We need your help to ensure that when families like Layla’s come to the food bank, there will be enough food to share.

    Please give generously today to keep food on our shelves so our neighbours can feed their families. Give today so that this winter none one goes hungry.

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  8. Planning for the Holidays

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    It’s that crazy time of year! The cold weather and December brings a busy time for us all and if you’re anything like me, you’ve got some holiday plans on your schedule too.  I’m tired just thinking about all that’s going on before we kick off the new year.

    What do the holidays mean to you?  Is it about family and celebration?  Or maybe a time to reflect on your past year and what is to come?  The holidays can be different for every person.

    But, the holidays can be harder for some people than others.  Sometimes they can be much harder than they were just the year before.

    Meet Penny.

    Penny has two daughters aged 7 and 11.  As a single mom, she works full time while her daughters go to school and take dance classes.

    Everything was going well until the unexpected happened.

    All of a sudden, Penny was also needed to be caregiver to her two elderly and sick grandparents.  She had not planned for this kind of bump in the road.

    We’ve all had those times where something unexpected has happened.  Luckily for some people there is financial support or family to fall back on during those times.  Others, like Penny find themselves trapped.

    “I didn’t know what to do.  I’ve always been a planner but I didn’t know how I was going to plan my way through this,” Penny says of the experience, “All of a sudden I had to take care of the whole family – not just myself and the girls.”

    With her family depending on her, she knew that she needed outside help.  She wouldn’t have time or money to take care of everything – especially during this time of year.

    That’s when Penny ended up at the food bank.

    Between the hamper that she receives every other week from her local food bank, store sales and coupon clipping; Penny has found a way to ensure that everyone in her family is able to eat nutritious meals each day.
    smiling-woman-1340662

    “If not for the food bank, there’s no way I would be able to feed my family and give my kids the holiday celebration that they deserve.” Penny says, “The holidays are much harder than usual but I’m glad to know that I can get help – anyone can.”

    Penny has been saving up bit by bit to be able to give her kids gifts and a nice dinner.

    “I want them to have what other kids have, they shouldn’t be left out of a holiday.  Thanks to the help we are getting from the food bank – they don’t have to be.”

    Because of your support during the Winter Food Drive – Penny will be able to serve a healthy holiday meal to her whole family and that is something to celebrate!

    Hunger doesn’t hibernate and we can make a difference for families just like Penny’s!

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    Let’s work together for a hunger free holiday!  Help us raise $250,000 and 250,000 lbs. of food for the Winter Food Drive. 

    No one should go without enough food to eat.