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!
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 / email@example.com
Isn’t it amazing what can happen when a community comes together to complete a project and make a difference?
With your generous support, North York Harvest has become the primary food bank in northern Toronto. Thanks to you we are able to give nutritious food to over 77 food programs in the city.
But what if we could take it another step further? What if we could produce a food product to even out the supply and quality of food received through donations?
The vision of North York Harvest is a community where all members are able to meet their food needs. Our mission is to engage our community in meeting the food needs of northern Toronto by providing dignified food assistance, education and long-term food solutions.
Each day we strive to meet that vision and mission.
As a community, we have succeeded in kickstarting a new social enterprise thanks to partnerships right here in Toronto.
Through the generous support of the Metcalf Foundation’s Inclusive Local Economies program, we were able to forge important partnerships with other local organizations working to improve food security in unique ways. Through these partnerships, we launched three incredible initiatives – we began delivering food to local child care centres, we launched the Leadership In Logistics skills development program, and we piloted community-oriented food production system. Through the last project, we successfully brought an affordable, nutritious dry soup mix to our local community.
With funding secured we were able to team up with FoodShare and Food Starter, to create a dry soup mix that promotes access to affordable, delicious and nutritious food for all.
To get started, North York Harvest asked our agencies what types of food were most needed and hardest to supply for the clients.
Within the agencies, there was a need for a hearty, vegetarian soup made with beans and rice that was nutritious but also easy to prepare. For certain dietary needs, it was also important that the soup was low in sodium but still flavourful without being spicy.
Together through our partnerships, we made a unique Moroccan Lentil Soup. It was sold in FoodShare’s Good Food Boxes and the Grab Some Good pop-up markets operating on various TTC subway platforms. And what is even better is for every soup sold… another soup goes on the shelf for someone using the food bank!
It was a hit!
To prepare the soup mix, we teamed up with the Experiential Learning program at York Humber High School. The students in this program have special needs and are encouraged to learn life skills through hands on training and real life experience. Each week the students would join Vanessa Yu from caterToronto at Food Starter to prepare several bags of soup that would be given to our community.
When I met the kids I asked what their favourite part of making the soup was and they seemed to all enjoy sealing up the soup packages the most! They even took soup home to cook and enjoy with their families.
The kids’ teacher, Carmi, says ‘We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity for some of our students to participate in a meaningful real work experience with the NYHFB. Students really enjoyed the experience and gained valuable employability skills while increasing their self-esteem. It was wonderful to watch them learn new skills and progress each week. We all look forward to continuing our partnership with the NYHFB and thank them for all their support over the last few months.’
We are so excited to move forward with this project and to be able to share this soup with you!
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with the incredible volunteers and clients at the Bathurst Finch Community Food Space. Located in a tiny room inside Northview Heights Secondary School, the hustle and bustle of getting prepared for the upcoming drop in made the room buzz. Operating outside of school hours, volunteers make sure the shelves are stocked and fridges full to help community members put food on the table.
Elis, who manages the food space, treats everyone that enters like family. Everyone is in this together and a VIP in the eyes of the caring volunteers.
One of the VIP clients using the food bank is Anna. Anna has been living in Canada for 11 years after leaving Uzbekistan because she was unable to find work.
After working 9 years at local Russian grocery stores, Anna had a child named Nikita and found herself out of work in order to take care of him each day. She had to go on social assistance but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to cover all of her expenses from rent and utilities to food and baby supplies. She was in a bind.
While searching for a way to get baby powder and baby food, Anna came to the Bathurst Finch Community Food Space. When she arrived, the helpful volunteers let her know that not only she could receive baby products, but she was also given food for herself. Anna was amazed by the kindness and generosity that was located right in her neighbourhood. She has been coming to the food bank for the past year now which has helped her stretch her small income.
To get to the food bank, Anna walks with Nikita in his stroller. During the harsh winter months, she was unable to take her stroller through the icy and snowy sidewalks and had no way to access the food bank. Thomas, a volunteer, took the time to drop off food to her home for three months so Anna and Nikita wouldn’t have to go without. “It was amazing that someone was willing to come and help us out when we couldn’t get around,” says Anna, “the food bank volunteers are wonderful!”
After Anna’s father passed away, her mother is still living in Uzbekistan alone. Anna hopes that her mother will be able to join her in Canada so they can be together again. “If she comes to stay with me, she’ll be able to help take care of Nikita so I can go back to school and get a full time job,” says Anna who dreams of becoming a paralegal one day to support her family.
Anna would recommend that anyone who needs help in her neighbourhood visit the Bathurst Finch Community Food Space. “They are so caring and have been so helpful to Nikita and myself. If someone is in need of help they will bring you in and treat you like family.”
At the Bathurst Finch Community Food Space, it is about more than just putting food on the table, it’s about bringing family to that table.
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!
Give a special gift to a special someone in your life! A donation in honour of your mom, grandma, aunt, godmother or another incredible person in your life will help provide food for people in need this month!
Together we can make a difference for more than 400 people that will use a food bank this Mother’s Day!
We can send an email to let her know of your gift in her honour!
Sometimes little things and family traditions can make a big impact.
Not too long ago I had a chance to meet with one of our many wonderful donors; to get to know her and her family a little better and understand why they choose to give to North York Harvest.
Meet Lynn & Andrew.
I stopped by their home in North York one afternoon as Lynn was preparing a spaghetti dinner for her son Andrew before he headed off to Air Cadets.
Lynn, a lawyer and community volunteer, has always wanted her son Andrew to know that he has advantages that other people right in his own community do not have. Lynn told us that when Andrew was as young as five years old he was already making a difference and giving to the food bank. “Every time we went to the grocery store, Andrew would pick groceries out to donate for little boys his own age. We called it ‘The Little Boy Box’.”
That sense of giving back to his community never left Andrew. Years later he joined his classmates during a volunteer session at North York Harvest. He enjoyed his experience so much that he became a summer volunteer at the Lawrence Heights Community Food Space to help his neighbours access healthy food.
Andrew’s commitment inspired Lynn to become a NYHFB supporter. “It’s sad to see that some families don’t have enough. We all deserve to have our basic needs met. I feel good knowing that my donations will go towards helping people in need,” shares Lynn. “Anybody could need a food bank at any time. This shouldn’t be the norm.”
Giving back to the community and ensuring their neighbours meet their food needs continues to be a tradition.
And even though Andrew is all grown up, Lynn makes sure to put a few extra items in her cart for the “Little Boy Box” when she’s at the grocery store.
Do you want to get more involved like Lynn and Andrew? We’d love to have you join us!
Did you know that volunteering can be a great way to get out into the community and meet new friends?
Gord and Bonnie have been dedicated volunteers with North York Harvest since 2015. Every week they join us in the warehouse to sort food and help new volunteers get the hang of things. Without them we wouldn’t be able to send out quality products to the food bank network. You see, a lot of donations come into the warehouse and they need to be sorted for quality and into categories to ensure that food banks get what they need to better serve our community. This means that dented cans, expired food and other unwanted items don’t make it out the door.
When we have new volunteers join us (such as corporate teams or community groups) Gord and Bonnie are there to share their knowledge which enhances the experience for others. But they aren’t the only ones teaching people, “Every day is a new learning experience,” says Gord, “So many foods come through here that I have never heard of – and I used to work in the grocery business! People I sort with teach me about the food and how to use it in new recipes.”
Bonnie and Gord both agree about their favourite part of volunteering at the food bank – meeting people from different walks of life. “I enjoy meeting people from corporations, schools, seniors’ programs, special needs program and more! Volunteering is a great way to be social!” says Bonnie.
There are many benefits to becoming a volunteer in your community! Not only are you helping other people but you will also meet new people, learn new things, keep fit and build confidence.