Comments Off on Spring up for Good! Spring Food Drive Kicks Off at NYH
We need you to make sure our community has the healthy food they need this spring!
We’re asking for the community’s help to raise $100,000 and collect 20,000 lbs.each of our most needed foods: canned tomatoes; rice; beans/lentils; canned tuna/seafood and cooking oil during our annual Spring Food Drive.
With food bank use up a staggering 60% since 2010 in the northern half of the city, we are urging community members to get involved so we can ensure families, seniors, newcomers and youth have the food and support they need this season.
“The skyrocketing cost of living in Toronto is pushing more and more people to turn to food banks to make ends meet. Our clients are being forced to make impossible choices with their extremely limited incomes. They can’t pay less for rent. They can’t pay less for hydro. But they can spend less on food, so it’s often the first place people cut when times get tough. The food we provide, through the support of our community, makes sure our most vulnerable neighbours aren’t going hungry during these increasingly difficult times.” says Ryan Noble, Executive Director.
The food and funds you generously give this spring will support 77 community food programs in neighbourhoods across Northern Toronto, including: local food banks, community meal programs and cooking groups, peri-natal programs and before and after-school meal programs.
There’s been lots in the news recently about how best to support food banks. We’re grateful for all of the ways our community takes action against hunger, and each type of gift is essential in making sure 16,000 people each month have the food and support they need to thrive.
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!
Want to come in for an evening with family and friends?
Every Tuesday evening we offer sorting sessions for families and friends! Learn how YOUR help in the food sorting room goes a long way to ensure that your neighbours get the best food possible! It’s a great way to have fun, get some exercise and give back!
Spring is in the air and our office is buzzing! Okay, yes I admit, these past few weeks have felt like we’ve experienced all four seasons at once – but trust me… Spring is almost here!
To celebrate the amazing weather on the way, we are kicking off the Spring Food Drive and we want YOU to be a part of it!
The Spring Drive is so important for making sure that the pantries are stocked during the warmer months to ensure no one has to go without! Together we can make sure that everyone meets their food needs!
Help us raise $100,000 and 100,000 lbs. of food! Your support will help more than 15,000 people each month using food banks, meal programs, prenatal/early parenting programs, community kitchens and other vital services throughout the city.
Getting involved with the food drive is a lot of fun and helps so many people! Just ask Lauren, who has been running food drives for more than ten years!
“I first heard about North York Harvest back in 2005 when I was 14 years old. A NYH bag came to our house with the local newspaper letting us know how we could help,” says Lauren. “I decided right then to do a food drive. At 14 it was a really cool thing to do. Our first food drive raised 170 pounds and its increased so much since then!”
Lauren and her parents have made food drives not only a family tradition, but a tradition within their neighbourhood. “I love going door to door to see everyone in the neighbourhood. A lot of the people I grew up with still give every year because they know that people rely on our help. It has become a real connection to the community.”
What are Lauren’s tips for running YOUR food drive?
It is much easier than it looks and it is much more rewarding too! Its benefits are huge!
We grocery shop as a family and sometimes with a few neighbours as well –add such items as baby formula, canned proteins. Living in a multi-cultural city and community, we also try to contribute spices and different types of food. Click here for a list of suggested foods to donate
Over 400 people rely on the food bank EVERY DAY. You can help!
Hunger doesn’t hibernate and neither did you during the 2016/2017 Winter Food Drive! Because of your INCREDIBLE support, funds, volunteer time and enthusiasm we raised OVER $250,000 & 250,000 lbs. of food!
This means that we can provide 750,000 meals to people that are in need of food this winter. THANK YOU!
There were more than 200 food drives in our great city run by families, volunteers, businesses, schools, faith groups, community groups and more.
Some highlights of the Winter Food Drive include:
Incredible Employee Engagement
The TRCA has been a community partner of NYH for a number of years but recently we have done more projects and programs together. All of the TRCA staff are involved in food and fun fund events to support of the work of NYH!
They’ve collected food, held raffles and draws, hosted food events and had a great time doing it!
During the winter food drive, the TRCA came in to sort food and also held their annual holiday party in support of providing 5,525 meals this winter to families in our communities.
Foods from Around the World
Delarie Murphy, Mutsa A Mawora-Lewis and Sarkis Kurkjian are international students from Citi College . They joined the Winter Food Drive and proved it doesn’t take many people to make a BIG impact. Hailing from Syria, Jamaica & Trinidad; these incredible students raised 530 lbs. of food! Not only that but they knew that many people appreciate food that is familiar when visiting the food bank – so they made sure to donate food they enjoy from back home. Food bank users come from all backgrounds and it is greatly appreciated when they feel comfortable with the food they feed their families.
The Redtastic team is a group of volunteers that dedicate their time to support Kadian when she runs hundreds of sort groups throughout the year. Jane, Janet, Gord, Sari, Bonnie, Linda, Haley, Steve, Enzo, Laura and Willare always reliable and make a big difference in the warehouse. During the winter food drive they were extremely helpful by providing guidance and support to not only Kadian but to new volunteers. Even when a group isn’t scheduled they will make time to come sort during the slot available. They are incredibly dedicated and we couldn’t sort through all of the donations that make it on the food bank shelves without them!
Biggest Food Drive
We had a tie this year for the largest food drive. Schools around the city are huge contributors to the food drives and this year Ledbury Park PS& Faywood ABCboth raised an incredible 4500 lbs. of food EACH! That will provide 13,500 meals to the community!
Families Feeding Families
Michael Bros. Excavating has been a donor to NYH for many years. A company run by siblings Peter, Tullio and Rosemary; they care deeply about giving back to their community.
This year they encouraged employees, vendors and contractors to join them in providing food for families in need. They raised an incredible 2,714 lbs. of food and came by the office 4 times to drop off their donations.
“We are very proud of our employees and brokers and value everyone’s involvement and cooperation. We will definitely encourage our group to once again, collect and drop off non-perishable food in the spring for our Easter Drive.” says Rosemary.
Thank you so much to everyone that put their time, effort, funds and support into making this the best food drive yet!
Thousands of people right in your community are able to access the food they need to get by this winter because of YOU! Thank you!
We are amazed as always by the tremendous support we received during the winter food drive and look forward to sharing a food friendly 2017 with you!
2016 has come to a close. It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? Whether you had a great year or can’t wait for 2017 to start, we can all agree that a lot has happened over the past 365 days.
Here at NYH, there has been a lot of excitement and progress over the past year. We’ve seen many accomplishments and triumphs thanks to our amazing clients, volunteers, donors, staff and supporters! We wouldn’t have had such a terrific year without YOU!
I asked my colleagues in the office, warehouse and on the front lines what their favourite memories of 2016 were and got quite an impressive response!
I considered doing one of those end of year top ten lists but then realized that I can’t decide which is the best one! So here, in no particular order, are some of the great milestones, achievements and moments from 2016!
2016 was BIG for programs, partnerships, feedback and healthy eating!
Of course I couldn’t start off without saying THANK YOU for providing food to people in our community! This year we served more than 15,000 people every month and distributed over 2.3 MILLION lbs. of food!
On top of putting food on the table for our neighbours in need, there were many other exciting things happening this year, including:
Child Care Food Delivery
This year NYH partnered with Learning Enrichment Foundation to bring healthy meals and snacks to over 1400 kids in childcare programs throughout the city.
For 3 months this year, NYH was able to run a community kitchen in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood. Each week, participants came together to learn cooking skills and enjoy a meal together. Learn more about Mission Kitchen here!
Food Handling Certificates and Meal Programs
The Oriole Food Space ran a series of community kitchen programs in partnership with Flemingdon Health Centre and Working Women Community Centre, particularly aimed at Syrian refugees. We trained a group of almost 20 Arabic speaking newcomers in food handling and food safety, necessary skills in securing employment in the food sector.
This year NYH got into the exciting world of food production! We partnered with FoodShare & Foodstarter to form a unique partnership to produce a soup that would help our community meet their food needs. With the help of students and volunteers, we were able to produce a dry lentil soup that will be sold through FoodShare’s Good Food Boxes & Grab Some Good pop up markets. Each soup sold will put a soup on the food bank shelf for someone hungry in the community.
Toronto Star Santa Hampers
This was first year we were able to distribute a healthier hamper for those receiving the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund Hampers. Every hamper included perishable items including eggs, cheese, apples and more!
Many of our clients were able to visit community farms in and around the city to see first hand where some of the fresh and nutritious produce that goes to their table comes from.
A comprehensive client survey was conducted in our food banks. Results are being put together now and will be used to guide future programming to ensure clients receive the best service possible!
Logistics Essentials Workforce Development
Using our warehouse space, we have embarked on a training program for low income individuals to learn skills for the workplace. Students will learn technical and employments skills as well as receiving certification for Forklift driving, safe food handling and WHMIS.
Lawrence Heights Community Food Space found a new home at 6 Pengarth Court. LHCFS is also our first community food space to move to the new appointment based model. This allows clients to have an appointment at the food bank to ensure less wait time, giving them better access to services and supports, and a personal touch.
Our frontline staff have had extensive training over the past year in non-violent conflict resolution, working in communities that experience gun violence, trauma informed care, food handlers certificates, developing a community of practice, program development, evaluation and implementation
This year we were honoured with the Advocacy Award from the Ontario Association of Food Banks recognizing our efforts towards addressing hunger in the community.
This year we celebrated our donors at Taylor’s Landing. It was a great opportunity to connect with some amazing people that are helping us provide our services in the community.