Tag Archive: mamma caya

  1. What’s in Store for 2016?

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    New Year’s resolutions are very common to make at this time of year.   I have definitely thought of a couple for myself, and it has probably crossed your mind as well.  Most of the popular resolutions are to get out of debt, volunteer more, get fit, quit smoking or save money.

    As a new member of the North York Harvest family, I was curious about our New Year’s Resolutions for a city where no one goes hungry.  I sat down with our Executive Director, Ryan Noble, to chat about what is in store for North York Harvest Food Bank in 2016. These are some of the main things we will be partnering with our donors, community and agencies in 2016

    Ryan Noble

        1. Find a new home for the Lawrence Heights Food Bank

        2. See that the Poverty Reduction Strategy is Implemented

        3. Increase our Industrial Partnership with The Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF)

        4. Increase our Food Purchasing Program




    Find a new home for the Lawrence Heights Food Bank


    Our Lawrence Heights Community Food Bank, used to be at our old location in Lawrence Heights. We were unable to have the food bank come with us to 116 Industry Street.  It needed to stay in that area to provide service to the many clients who relied on it for food support.  With space in our old neighborhood difficult to find, we were able to find a home nearby that promised to be a good solution.   Yet two major issues that our food bank clients face is the cost of transportation and disability. The majority of the 2,000 clients who access this food bank living in Lawrence Heights found it difficult to get there. We quickly recognized that to ensure clients would be able to access the food bank it would need to move back to the Lawrence Heights community.  With the support of our staff, volunteer leaders and the Lawrence Heights community, we have been working on a solution that would provide us with an accessible space right back in the community.  With the continued support of donors like you and our dedicated community, our goal is to move back within the next 6 months without interrupting service.  We want to ensure that in the cold winter months ahead, everyone will be able to access the food they need.


    See that the Poverty Reduction Strategy is Implemented


    Recently the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) was passed during a Toronto city council meeting.  The PRS aims to eliminate poverty in Toronto by 2035 with implementations starting in 2016.  The goal is to address immediate needs such as housing, transportation and food insecurity.  NYH has been a big supporter of this strategy since day one and we would like to see it take shape.  The only issue now is what funding will be available for this plan.

    What does North York Harvest want to see addressed as soon as possible?  Public space for food programming.  Many people living in poverty do not have access to healthy food because of where they live.  We want to be able to provide our programs in more communities, but there is a lack of public space for us to run our programs (like our issue with Lawrence Heights).

    The PRS recommends increasing the number of emergency food programs such as food banks in neighbourhoods that have food insecurity and poor food access.

    This would significantly help us serve over 13,000 people each month and would increase access to these programs for our clients.  Click here to find out more about the Poverty Reduction Strategy.


    Increase our Industrial Partnership with The Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF)


    When we moved into our new home at 116 Industry St, one of the things we were most excited about was the potential for partnerships with many of the great organizations also located here.  One collaboration that we were able to implement right away was allowing students working on their forklift-driving license to use our forklifts and warehouse.  This has helped them complete their training in a live warehouse thus building real work experience.  As we enter 2016, we have some plans to see that partnership expand. We’re hoping to create an apprentice program for on the job training while supporting our warehouse distribution. This will ensure we can move more food through our warehouse to the clients who need it.


    Increase our Food Purchasing Program


    In an effort to make sure that our community has enough healthy food to eat, we have further developed our food purchasing program into the Build a Hamper Program.  The goal of this program is to take our food hampers to the next level by adding more fresh and healthy food.  Many of our food items come through donations from food drives or corporate donations and consist of non-perishable foods.  We would like to increase our food purchasing budget so we can provide more items such as fresh vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat and milk to ensure a more balanced meal for those that access our food banks.  If you would like to learn more about our Build A Hamper program, click here.


    We are definitely looking forward to achieving these goals in 2016!  What are your New Year’s Resolutions?


    Keep in Touch this Year!!


  2. We Had a Great 2015!

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    2015 was a great year at North York Harvest Food Bank and it couldn’t have been done without you!

    Enjoy our 2015 year in review video!


    We can’t wait to see what 2016 holds!

  3. Meet Madelaine

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    Have you ever wondered what it is like to volunteer at your local food bank?  We talked with Madelaine, a North York Harvest volunteer to find out.

    MadelaineMadelaine has been volunteering ever since she was 14, an example learned from her mother.  Once Madelaine retired, she started looking for a volunteer position in her community. She was thrilled to know NYH was right in her neighbourhood.  Madelaine knows of the struggles of not having enough to eat. During World War II in Germany, her parents sometimes did not have enough food available.

    I asked her about any surprises she had when she first started working in the food bank, and there definitely were a few.  She was taken aback to see that so many people in her own backyard do not have enough to eat.  She also noticed the lack of community space for programs, “It’s unfortunate that the city doesn’t provide a free location for the food bank,” she says.  With over 13,000 individuals using North York Harvest’s services each month we work really hard to ensure there is space for all our programs.

    Volunteering is obviously a very important aspect of Madelaine’s life, “Everyone works together as a team.  We work hard.  I am tired by the end of my shift but I find it quite rewarding.” But I couldn’t help but ask her how she stays motivated to keep coming week after week.  She told me she volunteers with the food bank because of her love of helping people and being able to interact with the clients, volunteers and staff.  Because the people that use the food bank services are right in Madelaine’s neighbourhood, she sees many of them outside of her volunteering. “I run into a lot of clients.  Most of them stop and talk with me on the street or at the mall.”

    As a longtime food bank volunteer, Madelaine sees first-hand what kinds of foods are needed the most.  Most people need milk and vegetables, though both can run low come the end of the month.

    Food Hamper

    A typical food hamper from a NYH food bank

    As different people have many dietary needs, she does tend to get special requests.  Many people ask for Kosher, Halal or vegetarian foods.  Madelaine has got to know many of these clients well and does her best to help them if she can. “Most of the food is donated so we only have what we get, but if we have it, I will give it to them,” she told me with a smile.

    Though it can be tough to realize many people don’t have enough to eat, Madelaine can see the silver lining in the kindness of others.  She recalls a time it was near the end of her shift and she had given the last bag of rolls to a woman.  The last client of the shift came in right after and Madelaine had let that person know that unfortunately, they were out of bread.  “The woman who had the last package of rolls offered them to the other client. The other client insisted that they share.  I was very touched.”

    Madelaine’s philosophy in life is to treat people the way she would like to be treated.  She also believes that people should volunteer their time at organizations like North York Harvest because they couldn’t exist without volunteers.  “We all need to help each other.”

    When asked what one could do if they didn’t have time to volunteer?  “They can donate!” says Madelaine immediately.  “Food, or especially money so we can buy the food we need the most.”

    Here at North York Harvest we appreciate our many volunteers that assist with every aspect of the organization. It really does ‘take a village’ and we couldn’t run without you.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact lisa@northyorkharvest.com

    Want to help but are too busy right now to volunteer?  No problem.  Donate securely online and we will ensure that money goes to helping the clients that Madelaine serves so faithfully.


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