Operating a food bank has many unique challenges, many of which has been further amplified because of the COVID-19
pandemic. “Once COVID hit, North York Harvest was put into a position to change how business was done,” says
Dianna Stapleton, volunteer and board chair at Weston Area Emergency Support (WAES). Stapleton has worked in the food
security industry for more than 30 years, with much of her time spent volunteering with WAES which means she understands
the unique needs of small food banks. At the beginning of the pandemic, WAES would not have been able to keep its doors
open and support families, and individuals in need had it not been for North York Harvest. “We spent a lot of time with the
team at North York Harvest trying to figure out how to get food so that we could assist the community,” she says. It was
through this support that enabled WAES to access alternative avenues for food and donations that would not have been
possible for a small organization.“Sometimes we get into a routine and may not think there’s a better or different way to do things,” she explains. “Having the other members in North York Harvest’s Agency Network to tap into their expertise, is one of the biggest benefits.” Without the traditional networking opportunities that many other types
of businesses have, Stapleton and her colleagues at WAES value the regular meetings with other professionals in the food
security space for the chance to also share experience and celebrate shared success. As we all work towards basic income
that allows for affordable housing and accessible food many would agree with Stapleton, “Food banks are an emergency
room in a hospital, you don’t want to use it but you are glad when it is there.” At our core, it’s important for community
member to not feel a stigma around needing their support.
Tag Archive: north york harvest
Comments Off on Building Strong Community Partnerships
Operating a food bank has many unique challenges, many of which has been further amplified because of the COVID-19
Comments Off on Local Artists Showcase Their Support
From connecting ideas to creating awareness to enhancing a public space, there’s no question that art matters. Over the past year, it has been challenging for many of us to finds of staying connected with one another. For local artists, giving back to the North York Harvest community has not only supported individuals and families, it has helped create a positive connection for artists, adding more meaning to their work.
In June the North Toronto Group of Artists held their second annual fundraiser in support of North York Harvest. This event features the work of more than 40 local artists showcasing their work through an outdoor art exhibit and walking art tour. For many community members, the exhibit provided an opportunity to engage with artists and purchase artwork while also supporting the work of North York Harvest. Bringing together the community, showing support on a local level, impact this group of artists continues to have on the North York Harvest community is an inspiring example of what can be done with a little creativity and community spirit.
Wild Bunch, Sheila Merer IG: @sheilamererartYou Take My Breath Away, Madeleine Greenwald IG: @maddygreenwaldartDate Night at the Buffet, Melissa Morrow IG: @memocreativeThe North Toronto Group of Artists is run by volunteer artists. Representing the work of over 50 local artists who produce visual fine arts in various form. Learn more about the organization or specific artists at ntga.ca.
Comments Off on North York Harvest’s After the Bell Program
In Canada, under 20 per cent of the population are children. Nevertheless, they account for almost 35 per cent of food bank recipients. This summer, Food Banks Canada is determined to fight these statistics through its “After the Bell” program. Last year, 130,000 healthy food packs were distributed across the country in an effort to nourish kids in need. This year, the organization hopes to deliver 150,000 packs, which contain both shelf-stable and perishable items.
For the past few years, North York Harvest has been fortunate to be part of this initiative. As one of the largest urban centres in Canada, communities across Toronto have been among some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. The situation is exacerbated by school closures and the winding down of various social support programs, including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Parents are no longer able to depend on meal programs and turn to food banks due to the lack of a better alternative.
Through the grant program North York Harvest is able to purchase fresh food such as apples, sugar snap peas, cheese, and yogurt to include in the nutritious food packs. With the support of Food Banks Canada the teams at our community food spaces and network agencies are better equipped to serve families and children throughout the summer months, and leading them into a brighter and healthier school year ahead.
Comments Off on Pop-Up Shop for Pets In Partnership with the Humane Society of Canada
Last month, North York Harvest partnered with Humane Society International/Canada and Friends of HSI to hold a pet food pop-up at the Bathurst and Finch Community Food Space. The purpose of this event was to provide support to those in need of assistance in caring for their companion animals. Those impacted by the pandemic were offered free dog and cat food as well as treats and supplies for their pets.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our team’s focused mission has been to help keep pets in their homes. We have seen the unmistakable and often severe impact that COVID-19 has had on communities around Toronto and the rest of the province. We also know that the struggles and the lasting impact on people’s lives continues. We are grateful for this partnership with North York Harvest Food Bank as we join together to provide continued relief for people and their pets,” says Larysa Struk, Project Manager for the Ontario COVID-19 Animal Response Program at Friends of HSI.
Here at North York Harvest, we realize that for many individuals and families, pets have provided a much needed source of support, especially during the pandemic. At the same time, pet ownership is an added expense for many in our community. “With access to quality pet food and supplies, we are helping our community members ensure the well-being of their companions,” Henry Chiu, Director of Development & Marketing. “By partnering with the Humane Society International/Canada, we can further expand our existing support for pets which benefits the long-term health of all members of our community.”
Comments Off on Everyone Can Be A Hero
Family, friends and relaxation, that’s what summer should be all about. But for many families in our community, summer adds a significant stress as they grapple with additional food costs. In fact, summer is the time of year when our community’s food needs are at a peak, yet we receive our lowest level of donations. With your support, we can continue helping nourish families who turn to North York Harvest to meet their food needs.
During the pandemic you have helped make the Hamper Hero Virtual Food Drive a major success! While in-person food drives were not possible, the generous support North York Harvest received from families, schools and community groups was incredible. As we head into the summer months, the positive response continues with an increasing number of community members participating in virtual food drives. Our community continues to need your support, and we’re pleased to be able to help families with your contributions.
Here are some tips for increasing the impact of your Virtual Food Drive
Goal Setting: While it may seem simple, setting a fundraising target creates excitement for everyone who donates. Consider setting a reward for meeting your target to get everyone even more engaged.
Make It Special: Select a date and host a kick-off event that gets everyone on board. Consider engaging your network by sharing a video about the work that North York Harvest does.
Give Regular Reminders: Keep your group updated on the success of your Virtual Food Drive by sharing via social media platforms. Encourage everyone who has contributed to share on their social media channels and remember to tag North York Harvest too!
Are you interested in hosting a virtual food drive with your friends and family? Find out how you can get involved.
Comments Off on North York Harvest Launches 2021 Give 30 Campaign
Since 2012, Give 30 has been making a difference in communities nationwide, the United States and Australia. This grassroots movement was inspired by the Muslim faith’s Ramadan which takes place from April 13 until May 12, 2021. Regardless of of faith or background, everyone is encouraged to support partnering community organizations to fight hunger and food insecurity in our communities. This year, the campaign runs until August 31, which enables donors to extend their participation past the traditional 30-day campaign period. As a participating member agency, when you make a donation to Give 30 through North York Harvest Food Bank, your donation directly impacts the lives of families and individuals right here in your local community. By supporting one another, at times when we all need it most, we can each make a difference, together.Find out more about the values, and vision of Give 30 along how this important initiative began with a singular idea and inspiration. Interested in learning how you can connect with others who are also taking part in this global movement? Become a Give 30 Fan on Facebook and follow Give 30 on Twitter.
Comments Off on Interested in becoming a Board Member?
North York Harvest is looking for candidates to join our dynamic Board of Directors.
If you have passion for our vision of a community where all members are able to meet their food needs, this may be the volunteer position for you.
Do you have:
- Experience working in or with government
- Understanding of poverty reduction and food security
- Experience or connection to food distribution
- Strategic planning
We are seeking candidates for board terms effective February 2020; please note that orientation, including introduction to the Board, will begin as early as December 2019.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please review the NYH Board Posting.
Comments Off on The Amazing Race Canada at NYH
Do you watch The Amazing Race Canada? If so, we have a special surprise that we are so incredibly excited to share with you!
North York Harvest Food Bank will be featured on an upcoming episode of The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition!
As part of our incredible partnership with Dempster’s (Canada Bread), we were offered the exciting opportunity to welcome the cast and crew of the show into our warehouse to give us a hand sorting bread to be distributed to the food banks and community programs in North York.
Host Jon Montgomery and all of the teams joined us as they each came up with their own unique ideas of how to make this challenge work for them. It was an exciting day for our staff and volunteers and we hope you enjoy watching this special episode!
Don’t forget to tune in to CTV on Tuesday, August 7th at 8:00pm to catch all of the action!
And if you miss the show, it will be available online the following day at https://www.ctv.ca/The-Amazing-Race-Canada
Do you want to be a hero just like the Amazing Racers? We are in need of your support to provide healthy food for our neighbours more than ever during these summer months. Please donate on behalf of our URGENT Summer Campaign.
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