Tag Archive: food security

  1. 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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  2. Research Assistants Needed

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    Exciting Volunteer Opportunity

     

    Food Security Research Assistants

    We are looking for volunteers to assist our organization to collect data by distributing self-administered surveys to our food bank clients. These surveys will be administered between June 1 and July 7.  Volunteers will be working with our Evaluation Coordinator.

    Duties:

    • Recruit food bank clients for a customer satisfaction survey at 15 neighbourhood food banks across North York
    • Assist with data collection by distributing self-administered surveys to food bank clients during

    Food bank opening hours (vary by location)

    • Assist clients with survey completion where necessary
    • Ensure the completeness of the survey where possible
    • Ensure client confidentiality at all times
    • Assist with data coding, data entry, and data verification using Excel

    Qualifications

    • Have experience in survey research or have strong interest in learning about survey research
    • Have an understanding of food security or have strong interest in learning about food security
    • Have the ability to travel to and from Food Banks that are part of North York Harvest’s Agency

    Network

    • Understand the importance of client confidentiality and data integrity
    • Understand anti-oppression and anti-oppression practices
    • Possess good interpersonal skills
    • Possess data entry skills (accuracy and speed) would be an asset
    • Have the ability to speak other languages besides English (e.g. Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish) would be an asset

    For more information please contact:

    Irene Cheung, Evaluation Coordinator at irene@northyorkharvest.com

     116 Industry St. Toronto ON M6M 4L8, Telephone: 416-635-7771 Fax: 416-635-5599

  3. A Food Friendly 2017

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    Ryan Noble

     

     

    Guest Blog by Ryan Noble, Executive Director

     

     

    As we get back into our day to day routines after the holidays, I start thinking about the year that has passed as well as what the new year will offer.

    I am pleased to share with you my highlights of the year as well as the plan for the upcoming months – there is a lot to look forward to and I would love for you to get involved in any way you can!

    Some of my favourite highlights of 2016 really represented the mission of NYH, which includes providing dignified food assistance, education and long-term food solutions.

    A New Home for Lawrence Heights Community Food Space

    lawrence-heightsLawrence Heights Community Food Space moved into 6 Pengarth Court. This was truly a community-led initiative: a team from Bombardier Aerospace’s nearby facility came in to freshen the place up with some new paint, which made it really feel like a home. We also strengthened our relationships with local Lawrence Heights community agencies as we were back in the neighbourhood. The I’m Lawrence program helped us out with installing ramps and railings to aid with our accessibility issues.

    We have been more involved with LH related community programming, attending community safety meetings, LHION meetings and forums and bringing the perspective of food security to the community agency table.

    The waiting space in the new site is not as large as it was in our previous location, so we created an appointment system to better manage the flow of clients. This allows more dignified food access for everyone, allowing them a private time to use the food bank, one on one time with volunteers and staff as well as safety from the elements as they will not need to wait outside.

    A Growing Partnership

    Since moving into 116 Industry Street, the Learning Enrichment Foundation and North York Harvest have been committed to strengthening our communities through food and education.
    Last year not just one, but two major programs came out of the partnership.

    Child Care Food Delivery
    As a food bank, NYH transports food to those in need throughout the community. It was only a natural step to join LEF in providing healthy meals to children in childcare. Each day LEF prepares meals and snacks for children from low income families that are in daycare while their parents go to work – and NYH makes sure that the meals reach their destination. Over 1,400 children are served daily through this program.

    Logistics Essentials Program
    Building on our mission to deliver long-term solutions to combat poverty, we put in place a new program to provide technical training and personal development to low income individuals. The course runs for 13 weeks in our warehouse serving the immediate needs of food bank clients through training. Each year 48 people will receive skills and certifications all geared towards securing stable employment upon completion of the course. Stay tuned to hear about the first graduating group of students!

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    Moving forward with LEF, we will continue working together to lift individuals out of poverty in the city.

    Soup’s On!

    img_20161021_134415338In response to the growing number of individuals that need to use a food bank in our city, we embarked on a new project – to ensure we have a supply of quality food for people that are in need. After consulting with our agencies and clients on their specific food needs, we partnered with Foodshare and Foodstarter, and created a new product – a delicious Moroccan-Style Lentil Soup. This soup is suitable for anyone as it is vegetarian, high in fibre and protein as well as low in calories with no added sugars, salts, flavours, colours or preservatives.

    Together with the help of students and volunteers, we were able to produce a first run of the soup that will be sold by FoodShare. For every soup sold, another will be provided to the food bank, ensuring everyone will have access to a healthy, easy to prepare and delicious meal.
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    Currently we are looking to partner with a school in order to use the soup production and sale process as part of an educational program. This soup program is community oriented, sustainable and provides a long term food solution to the public.

    Letting People Be Heard

    In 2015 the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy was passed during a city council meeting. The goal of the strategy is to address immediate needs such as housing, transportation and food insecurity. I was able to attend a meeting regarding the strategy with NYH Board Chair, Kerry Mitchell to share the perspective of our clients with the mayor and city council. While we work very hard to advocate on behalf of our clients, we also want to establish processes and forums for clients to advocate on their own behalf and share their stories with our city’s decision makers.

    This year we are putting together a Speaker’s Bureau within the North York Harvest Food Bank network. This will enable individuals that are experiencing poverty or living in poverty and using programs such as food banks to have their voice be heard as well as amplify the collective voice of our clients. We hope that this program will educate our community and provide more insight into the lives of those we serve.

    I am truly looking forward to what we have in store for the upcoming year!

    What most interests you about these subjects? Is there something else that we’re missing? Want to get involved? Let YOUR voice be heard and let me know by dropping me an email at ryan@northyorkharvest.com

    Here’s to a food friendly 2017!

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  4. Looking Back at 2016

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    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.

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    Mission Kitchen

    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.

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    Soup Production

    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.

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    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!

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    Farm Fresh

    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.

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    Client Surveys

    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.

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    Lawrence Heights

    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.

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    Staff Training

    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

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    Advocacy Award

    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.

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    Donor Recognition

    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.

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     Don’t miss the 2016 wrap up video!

    There are so many other great memories from 2016 and this was only just a few.

    Do you have any highlights of the year? We’d love to know!  Leave your memories in the comment section to share your views!

    Here’s to an even more amazing 2017 helping our community meet their food needs!

     

     





  5. You Make It Happen!

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    This post is all about YOU and how absolutely GRATEFUL we are to have you in the North York Harvest family!

    YOU make it possible to provide food for your neighbours that would otherwise go hungry.

    YOU come out to volunteer, donate funds, show support and be a part of our community.

    Each month your generosity touches more than 15,000 people in Toronto. Thank you!

    Without YOU we wouldn’t have been able to help your neighbours access food this year.

    This year we shared with you stories from many people.  People who were directly impacted because of you.  And those stories are just the tip of the iceberg!

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    From Jenna, who started grade four this year and loves science and gym class.  And her mom Trish, who had her hours cut at work.  Trish wasn’t sure how to pay the bills.  YOU ensured that Jenna didn’t go to school hungry!

     

    img_7197Your support helped Katherine, a dietician at a prenatal drop in program.  With your help, she was able to teach women about healthy eating on a budget.  YOU ensured that they would be able to feed themselves while they were pregnant and continue to provide nutritious meals as their children grow.

    nirajMore than 800 York University students use the campus food bank every week.  YOU made sure that they were able to access the food they needed to help them concentrate on their studies instead of hunger.

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    Marlene, a volunteer at a local food bank was able to give her neighbours more than just food when they came in hungry.  She was able to connect them with free services throughout the city to help them with parenting classes, recreational activities, resume building and more.

    Over 300 Syrians fleeing war and violence came to the Oriole Food Space after arriving in Canada.  There they have found more than food for their families, but the opportunity for a new life, work, friends and a chance.  A chance they wouldn’t have gotten without your support.

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    And Jennifer who is only 17 years old.  She found herself pregnant and homeless…instead of her original plan to go off to college and start her career.  YOU made sure she was able to feed herself and her son during these tough times.

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    These are only some of the people that you helped this year alone!  There are thousands more people that you directly impact through your generosity and support!

     

    We can’t do it without you and we couldn’t imagine trying!

     

    Thank you for all you do – it makes a world of difference – to us and the neighbours that you may never know.





  6. Hunger Awareness Week

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    Canada is such an amazing country, there is so much freedom and liberties we have that many countries don’t.  This is why I always find it shocking when I see the statistics of people that go hungry in our country.

    Hunger Awareness Week takes place from September 19-23. This is a week where Canadians like you and I band together to raise awareness for the people in our Canada that have to go without something to eat.

    In fact, on September 16 Hon Laura Albanese, MPP joined us at North York Harvest Food Bank to help us sort food during the First Annual Great MPP Food Sort!

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    Did you know?

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    Each day children in our communities may go without a meal. Poverty can lead to poor nutrition and that can affect a child’s grades  and quality of life in the long run.

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    Every province and city in the country is affected by hunger.

    Who uses the food bank in Toronto? They range from many ages and backgrounds.

    • 1/3 of food bank users are children
    • 15% are seniors
    • 40% are on long term disability
    • 40% have graduated from college or university

    But what can we do?

    We can all take a stand and make a difference in the lives of people that are hungry!

    Get involved with your local food bank and the issue of hunger in your community in the following ways:

    bank_cash_coin_coupon_discount_money_piggy_sale_save_saving-512Make a Donation

    A donation of $1 provides 3 meals

     

    082207-green-jelly-icon-business-cart5Run a Food & Fund Drive

    Get your friends, family and coworkers together.  Be creative and have fun while giving back.

     

    Donate Food

    Great items to donate are canned fish, canned beans, canned tomatoes, rice & baby products

     

    hand-heart-iconVolunteer

    There are many ways to volunteer! Join us in the food bank, warehouse, on the truck, at events or in the office.

     

    conference-512Get Social

    Spread the word on all of your social media accounts about hunger in Canada! Find some Hunger Awareness Week tools here.

     

    You can make a difference for the people that are hungry in your community!

    Check out more photos from the Hon Laura Albanese MPP visit on Facebook

    Find out more about Hunger Awareness Week!

     

     





  7. 2015/2016 Stakeholder Impact Review

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    The Joy of Food

    This has been one incredible year.  We want to celebrate YOU and all you do for people in your community with the release of our 2015/2016 Stakeholder Impact Review.  Because of your support, thousands of people are able to experience the #joyoffood!  In fact, almost 5 MILLION meals have been served and it wouldn’t have happened without you by our side.

    Click here to see your impact!





  8. Because of YOU!

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    This year because of you amazing things happened!  You made a huge impact in the lives of people in your community that didn’t have enough food to eat!  Your donations, food drives, volunteering and support provided an incredible amount of food to people in Toronto!  Thank you!

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    Cheers to another amazing year and onto the next!

    View in PDF