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!
Our shelves are almost empty and we are out of stock on key items such as canned tomatoes, rice, beans, cooking oils, baby food and canned fish.
With 47 member agencies and 77 food programs throughout Toronto needing orders filled, we are having a hard time making those orders possible. We’ve had to cut back on deliveries because we are simply out of stock.
The shelves, freezer and fridge are bare. But YOU can help make a difference!
Comments Off on “I wanted to make sure others have the same chance I did.” – How Theresa Pays it Forward
Asking for help is hard.
When Theresa visited our Lawrence Heights Community Food Space for the first time, her hands were shaking. “I was so embarrassed to have to ask for food,” she remembers. The single mother was desperately in need of help to put food on her table, but we often hear, Theresa felt ashamed of her situation.
Theresa’s situation, however, is not unlike the ones many others face in Toronto. “I was new to the city. I came here because I thought I’d be able to find work. But it was harder than I expected.” Because of the generosity of our community, Theresa was greeted warmly by Julie, our Food Bank Manager.
She walked away with the food she needed and a new sense of belonging. Just like 1 in 3 of our clients, Theresa wanted to “pay it forward”. Even though she was in a time of personal crisis, she was determined to give back so others could receive the same help she had. She became a volunteer to create a safe, friendly space for her neighbours who were also struggling.
“I told Julie to call me whenever she needed help – day or night. I wanted to make sure others have the same chance I did. I know this community needs help, so I’m helping in the way I can,” Theresa insists with a shy smile.
Stories like Theresa’s happen at North York Harvest agencies every day. Emergency food assistance makes life a little better and restores a sense of purpose and hope. People come in for help and find a community.
Your support makes sure that providing emergency food support is just the beginning of our relationship with people like Theresa. And just like you, Theresa is committed to building a healthier Northern Toronto.
Will you join Theresa and give what you can to make sure our community members in need can find healthy food across Northern Toronto?
Hi There! My name is Harvey and I’m a North York Harvest delivery truck. I have an amazing job! Every day I get to drive around northern Toronto delivering nutritious food to our neighbours in need. Maybe we’ve crossed paths once or twice?
I get to visit 77 community programs in North Toronto, including food banks, shelters, meal programs, prenatal programs, community kitchens and after school programs. My job is to make sure that the food that you donate gets into the hands (and stomachs) of people that rely on these programs.
Not long ago I met Holly, a food bank member and volunteer when I dropped food off to her local food bank. She wanted me to share this message with you:
“Because of the Food Bank, not only have I made new friends, and gotten the food I need to stay healthy, I was also given the gift of giving back. I no longer just have a place to live, I have a home!”
My next stop is Kathryn. She helps women get the nutrition they need to raise healthy children. This is especially important because in some parts of the city (including where Kathryn works) 1 in 2 children live in poverty. That statistic is heartbreaking, so we’re pitching in to help. Together we’re making sure Kathryn has the food she needs to provide expecting moms with hot meals, nutritional advice and food to take home.
Later in the morning, I visit Norma. Norma runs a seniors lunch program in her neighbourhood. She told me she was so happy to see me because my delivery makes sure seniors have a hot meal to eat and friends to share it with. Thank you for making that possible! Your support allowed me to bring healthy food to Norma so she could cook up a feast for her neighbours. She told me about the first meal the group shared together – homemade chicken noodle soup. “I was almost in tears when a client told me she couldn’t remember the last time she had homemade soup.” The idea of having a homemade bowl of soup may not seem like much, but to the people I visit, it makes a world of difference.
My last delivery is to Layla at the Oriole Food Space. Layla lost everything when she had to leave her home country. Thanks to your support of the food bank, she had somewhere to go to help her get back on her feet. She wanted me to share this message with you: “Because of the food bank, I was able to feed my kids, feel safe and build a new life. I am so grateful.”
As you can see, my job is super important. But I can’t do it without you. Just like you need to fuel yourself up for busy days, I do too. Do you think you can help us raise $5000 to keep me on the road? Each month I make sure that more than 16,000 people get the food they need to thrive – and they, just like everyone else at North York Harvest Food Bank (especially me!) would be incredibly grateful for your support!
Just $50 will keep me on the road for an entire day! And if you make a gift of $250 it keeps me truckin’ for an entire week – that’s a LOT of deliveries thanks to you! THANK YOU!
Each year North York Harvest Food Bank teams up with the Daily Bread Food Bank to release the annual “Who’s Hungry” report. It is a snapshot of food bank use in Toronto.
Surveys were conducted on a completely voluntary basis within participating food banks. 33 food banks participated and over 1400 surveys were used to create the report.
This report always releases staggering numbers and highlights the problem with food insecurity in our local community and the affect it has on our neighbours in Toronto.
Food Bank use in the Inner Suburbs has grown 68% since 2010
We have been seeing a major increase in visits to the North York Harvest Food Bank. Residents may be forced to leave the city core to find more affordable rent. Though being able to afford both rent and food is still out of reach for many.
The growth in the east end has increased dramatically. Food bank use in this area of the city has increased 30% compared to 4% or less in other parts of the city. Many of the residents there are newcomers, having fled due to international conflict or natural disasters – most paying around 82% of their income on rent alone.
“I HAVE COPED BY NOT EATING WELL OR SOMETIMES I DON’T EAT. ACTUALLY I DON’T EAT ABOUT ONCE A WEEK BECAUSE THERE ARE EXPENSES FOR MY ILLNESSES.” ~ SURVEY RESPONDENT
Social Assistance just isn’t enough anymore
The lack of sufficient income brings many people to food banks. The average monthly income for clients is just $816.50. For a city like Toronto that will not even pay for rent on a one bedroom apartment.
“I AM DEPRESSED, HAVE GAINED 50 POUNDS. I HAVE LOST FRIENDS AS I CANNOT AFFORD TO SOCIALIZE OR HAVE TTC FUNDS TO GO TO THEIR HOMES.” ~ SURVEY RESPONDENT
Usage of food banks by seniors has skyrocketed
Within just a year, food bank usage of people ages 65 and up has increased by 26.8%! It is also quite possible there is a higher need among seniors but many may not be able to attend the food bank due to barriers such as transportation or lack of physical ability.
22% of seniors have skipped meals for an entire day because they couldn’t afford to eat – for many of them, it happened almost every month. Many report using their small amounts of money on prescription medications. Lack of food can worsen any pre-existing health problems seniors may have.
Another reason that seniors are accessing the food bank more than ever is that many aren’t getting a boost to their income through the Guaranteed Income Supplement they may be entitled to receiving. The reason many are not receiving this benefit could be sheer lack of awareness, the difficulty in applying do to lack of technical support or language barriers.
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.
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.
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org