As students return to campuses everywhere, many are on even tighter budgets than usual. In some cases students didn’t have the same job opportunities during the summer months, making it even more challenging when they return to school. As a result, some of our busiest member agencies operate on university and college campuses.
Over the past year, many of us have enjoyed ordering takeout from our favourite restaurants and dining in the comfort of our homes. These days the simple luxury of ordering takeout after a long week, may not be in the budget for many of our friends and neighbours. As a result of these circumstances, DoorDash recognized the need for additional support in communities nationwide, and has partnered with a number of organizations nationwide to make takeout delivery easier for families and individuals nationwide.
At North York Harvest, DoorDash’s donation of $10,000 worth of gift cards was distributed to Seneca College students in September. For budget-conscious students, having access to a $25 DoorDash gift card, was a wonderful way to give a healthy and hopeful kickstart to the upcoming school year.
There are some pretty amazing and thoughtful kids in your community!
One of the greatest partnerships that NYH has in the community is with our local schools. The partnership allows us to educate students about food security in their community and show them why people they know such as schoolmates or even friends and family use a food bank. In turn, students take on a very large and important role in advocating for support of everyone’s food needs. From food drives to fundraising, we are so incredibly grateful for these amazing kids!
Our guest blog is by Christmel, Ayse and Aishat in grades 4 & 5 at Blaydon Public School!
Written by Christmel and Ayse, Presidents of Healthy Fit Company & Aishat, Production Manager (Grade 4/5)
On April 26, 2017, the grade 4/5 class, with the help of some grade 3 students, organized and ran a Fit Fair! There were all kinds of activities with the goal of helping our school community stay fit. From smoothies to basketball, yoga to origami and so much more!
Our main goal was to donate $300 to North York Harvest Food Bank, but we ended up raising $1082! It was a lot of planning and organizing but it was a great success. Representatives from the North York Harvest Food Bank visited our class the week after our event and told us that of all of the schools that have fundraised for them, we were the school that raised the most. That means, we were able to provide over 3000 much needed meals!
We thought the Fit Fair made the most sense with our vision of helping our school become healthier and more fit. And since food plays an important role in being healthy, we decided to donate all the profits to the food bank. At this time of year, the food banks have more need than supply, so this was the perfect opportunity to help out! This was an amazing experience for everyone that took part. With our hard work and your involvement and generosity, we all made this wonderful act of giving a reality at Blaydon PS!
Great work promoting healthy eating and living in your community! Thank you Blaydon PS!
Are you interested in getting your school involved in a food drive? Check out the Food Drive Kit.
Would you like to join us in providing healthy food for members of your community? Make a donation!
With your support, we serve over 15,000 people that are hungry each month! As you can imagine, it takes A LOT of food to be able to provide meals for our neighbours in need.
Through generous donations of individual and corporate donors, we receive 100,000’s of pounds of food. But all of this food isn’t ready to go out to the food banks – it must be sorted for quality first.
I caught up with Kadian Clarke, a staff member at North York Harvest – she works with groups of volunteers to sort through thousands of pounds of food. Since January, she’s trained and sorted with over 1,000 people including employee groups, schools, sports teams as well as families.
“My favourite part of the job is teaching people about the foods in the food bank as well as building awareness of hunger in our city.”
It turns out in order to sort all of this food; there are many rules. The reason for this is so we can provide the best possible food to people in your community. That means we can’t accept damaged, unlabeled, expired or half-eaten foods (yes, all of these items come into the warehouse on a regular basis and must be sorted before they reach the food bank).
“There are 23 categories of food that go out to agencies.” Kadian tells me as she sets up the sort room for her next group. These categories include baby food, rice, nutritional supplements, snacks and proteins – others in higher demand than others. “The important part of sorting them into these categories is that we can better serve the clients with food they need. This way agencies don’t get a box of random items ranging from tuna to pudding cups when what they really needed was canned beans.”
We are extremely thankful for all of the donations that we receive, but some of them can be completely strange. I asked some of the staff what items they’ve seen through the years that made them raise an eyebrow.
We definitely see the wacky and the weird in our bins on a regular basis for example:
Graham crackers from a company that went out of business years ago
Vegetable soup that expired in 1995
Caviar that was 10 years past the best before date
Cut off shorts
Expired military rations
Thankfully, most donations received are exactly what our clients are looking for in a food hamper: items like canned fish, canned tomatoes, beans, rice and baby food. It’s important that we take the time to sort and categorize these items. Unfortunately sorting through unwanted items is a lot of extra work. And it takes valuable time and money to dispose of anything that is damaged or expired.
Volunteers come in to sort with their coworkers or friends and end the session knowing more about hunger in the city and why their help is so essential. The thing that Kadian sees volunteers take away from the food sorting experience is a sense of accomplishment within the community. “After each sort session, we share how many pounds of food were sorted and how many families they are helping. This way the volunteers get to see their hard work pay off first hand. The groups feel great about being able to make a difference.” And make a difference they do.