What do you think of when you imagine a food bank? I used to think of a basic definition of a food bank – a place for people to come to when they need food to feed themselves and their families. They would get their food and be sent on their way. That was until I joined North York Harvest.
You see, through the member agencies that you support through NYH, people are able to access so much more than food. We like to think of it as Food Bank Plus. As you may imagine, most of the people that need to use a food bank also are in need of support in many other ways. This can range from health care, education, connecting with others and maybe even a bed to sleep in for the night.
“We like to think of it as Food Bank Plus”
When you support North York Harvest, your support multiplies and you reach over 47 member agencies throughout this city. People in your community can access programs and services that they truly need – and that couldn’t be done without you and the amazing agencies that fall under the NYH umbrella.
So what exactly else does a food bank do other than ensure our neighbours have enough food to put on the table? With so many great agencies, there is no way I would have time to visit them all, so I went to an expert.
Meet Rowena Power, our Director of Food Distribution. With a passion for helping others and making a difference in her community, Rowena was drawn to North York Harvest because of the progressiveness in food bank programming. She loved how clients are able to access so many additional services and get the one on one attention they deserve. In her role, she is the link between NYH and all of the member agencies we work with. She is there to provide support, training and even just a listening ear to all the agencies that we work with. She refers to them as the “hands and heart of the organization”. Rowena told me about some of the incredible programs that run in this city for people in need.
With your help, some amazing things happen in your neighbourhood, like:
- Youth Homeless Shelters such as Eva’s Initiatives provide healthy meals to kids that don’t have a home to call their own.
- There are prenatal and new parent centres such as The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre. Families can come here for education on many topics that can come up for new parents. They are also able to access nutritious food for themselves and their children.
- Rexdale Women’s Centre offers a community meal that will serve 40-50 people. A facilitated discussion happens during the meal about important issues facing families today.
- Lady Ballers Camp is a safe space for young girls to get together and keep fit. Every girl is included in activities regardless of their family income. They are also taught about nutrition and self esteem.
- North York Community House serves senior citizens that may otherwise be alone and isolated. They can come in for meals, socialize and access other services.
- After-school programs like the Boys and Girls Club provide a safe space for kids to hang out, do homework and fill their bellies before their parents get home from work.
Those are only a few of the amazing services offered to people in your community. I have noticed that the NYH network has so much to offer the community and how incredibly intricate these services are for people in need in Toronto. I’m amazed when I see the hard work, dedication and generosity that staff and volunteers in these agencies give each day to ensure someone else’s life is touched and not forgotten.
When you join us on this journey, you too are touching lives through the gift of food.
Community members come for the food, but stay for the classes, health care, social connection, assistance and more.
Without you, we wouldn’t be able to provide the food and support that keeps these programs running! Thank you for being there for your neighbours in need whether they need something to eat, guidance or even just a friend that will listen to them.
Want to learn more about the programs you reach through North York Harvest?
- Abi had to pull her daughter from the basketball team because she couldn’t afford the fees. Because of you, her and many other girls are able to play ball and stay healthy!
- Troy and Robin may be staying in a youth shelter, but they are learning valuable skills to last a lifetime
Donate today to ensure that we can keep supporting these amazing programs within your community!