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Canstruction is building it once again!

giraffe     cans

The 2016 Canstruction Toronto event is gearing up! This is a competition held in Toronto and cities around the world where, each year, teams of designers, architects and engineers donate their time to build sculptures made entirely out of cans of foods. Last year’s Canstruction raised over 70,000 pounds of food. The canned food sculptures will be displayed in downtown Toronto from May 17 to 21 before being taken down and donated to Daily Bread Food Bank.

Still not sure what Canstruction Toronto is all about? Here’s a link to last year’s sculptures: http://canstructiontoronto.org/


Date Added: April 5, 2016 | Comments Off on Canstruction is building it once again! | Filed under: Blog,Canstruction,Fundraising Events,News — Tags: , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 3:20 pm



Last day of the Spring Drive!

This is no April Fool’s joke….today is the last day of Daily Bread’s Spring Drive! DSC_0078

As of March 31, $150,000 and 93,000 pounds have been raised and the goals are $225,000 and 150,000 pounds of food.

Donations to the Spring Drive will help ensure that Daily Bread can continue to deliver nutritious food out to almost 200 food programs across Toronto. Help fight hunger in Toronto and make a gift to the Spring Drive online by clicking here: http://bit.ly/DBSpring.

Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at any local fire hall. Most needed food items include canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, canned or dried beans/lentils as well as canned fish or meat and rice.


Date Added: April 1, 2016 | Comments Off on Last day of the Spring Drive! | Filed under: Blog,News,Spring Drive — Tags: , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 10:05 am



5 things you should know about the 2016 Federal Budget

The 2016 Federal Budget brought the federal government back to the table when it comes to fighting poverty across the country. From the creation of a new federal child benefit to coordinating a national housing strategy, there is potential that these investments can make a substantial impact in poverty reduction when combined with provincial and local initiatives.

  1. Creation of the Canada Child Benefit
    The new Canada Child Benefit announced in the federal budget is one of the biggest developments in social policy at the federal level in many years. This new progressive, non-taxable benefit has real potential to lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. However the devil will be in the details when it comes to families receiving social assistance, who would be among the poorest families needing the maximum amount of the benefit the most.
    The 2016 federal budget created the new Canada Child Benefit by consolidated the existing patchwork of federal child benefits, and targeting it so it could better benefit low income families. The Canada Child Benefit will provide a maximum annual benefit of up to$6,400 per child under the age of six, and up to $5,400 per child for those aged six through 17. According to the federal budget document, for families receiving less than $30,000 a year, this could mean a maximum increase of $1,548 per child under six, and a $1,484 increase for per child six and over.
    In Toronto, 35 per cent of households accessing food banks are families with children. This extra income could make a big impact in reducing the need for food banks for these families. However, in order to ensure the families who need the support the most will benefit from the new Canada Child Benefit, it is important that the provinces and territories do not claw back that income from families receiving social assistance.
    This is a particularly important consideration for those accessing food banks in Toronto, as nearly 60 per cent of families with children accessing food banks receive social assistance as their main form of income. While the previously implemented National Child Benefit Supplement allowed provinces and territories to claw back this income from families on social assistance, the federal government can take a strong lead in setting a standard of not allowing this income to be clawed back.
  2. Creation of a National Early Learning and Child Care Framework
    Lack of affordable childcare is a significant financial barrier for many families. Past Who’s Hungry surveys found that almost a quarter of parents said that they could not enter the workforce because of both cost and access to daycare.
    The federal budget proposed to invest $500 million in 2017–18 to support the establishment of a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care, to be developed in consultation with the provinces, territories and indigenous communities beginning this year.
  3. Increased access to Employment Insurance
    The most common reason people need a food bank for the first time is because they have lost their job.
    Many cannot access E.I. because they do not have enough hours and have to apply directly to social assistance as a last resort. Increasing part time, contract and seasonal arrangements make acquiring enough hours to qualify more difficult.
    The federal budget expands E.I. coverage to those that are new to or re-entering the labour force, by reducing the number of hours required for them have worked in order to be eligible for the program. This will expand access to the program for an estimated 50,000 additional claimants.
    The budget also commits to reducing the waiting period to access E.I. from two weeks to one week. This will give people who have lost their jobs quicker access to a source of income.
  4. Topping up the Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors
    Food insecurity among seniors has been increasing. The Canadian Community Health Survey reported a 24 per cent increase in the number of severely food insecure seniors from 2007 to 2012. For many seniors on low income, their pensions have not been able to keep up with rapidly rising food and housing costs.
    The federal budget has committed to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single seniors with the lowest levels of income, increasing their payments by $947, as well as adjusting benefits on a quarterly basis to match increases in the cost of living.
    The federal budget also commits to restoring the eligibility for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement to age 65 from age 67. This is especially important for those living in poverty who will be able to receive this essential form of income when they turn 65.
  5. Increasing affordable housing and leading a National Housing Strategy
    One of the most common barriers food bank clients face is the high cost of housing. Clients spend 71 per cent of their income on rent and utilities, and one-third skip meals in order to be able to keep a roof over their heads. Toronto is becoming increasingly unaffordable for too many families, and the supply of subsidized housing units is way too small to be able to keep up with the demand.
    The new federal budget makes a $2.3 billion commitment over two years to repair and retrofit existing subsidized housing units as well as creating new affordable housing. The budget also commits the federal government to leading the coordination of provinces, territories, and other groups to develop a National Housing Strategy. With the City of Toronto, the Province and Federal government now aligned in seeking to address the need of affordable housing, there is new opportunity to create long term, transformational change in this area.


Date Added: March 29, 2016 | Comments Off on 5 things you should know about the 2016 Federal Budget | Filed under: Blog,Government,In the News,News,Research — Tags: , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 1:46 pm



Reducing poverty across Canada

Did you listen to our Telephone Town Hall last month?

On Tuesday, the federal government is expected to release the budget. Will poverty reduction be a priority for the new government in this budget? We certainly hope so. At Daily Bread’s Telephone Town Hall last month, Daily Bread assembled a panel of experts to discuss what the federal government could do to reduce poverty in Canada. Michael Mendelson (Caledon Institute of Social Policy), John Stapleton (Metcalf Foundation and Daily Bread board member) and Anita Khanna (Campaign 2000 National Campaign Coordinator) discussed child benefits and affordable housing issues, as well as taking calls from listeners.

Missed it? You can catch up here by listening to the audio online.


Date Added: March 21, 2016 | Comments Off on Reducing poverty across Canada | Filed under: Blog,Government,News,Policy — Sarah @ 3:52 pm



Easter Holiday Weekend Meal Programs & Drop In Hours

Click here to find out more information on meal programs and drop-in hours over the Easter holidays around Toronto.  Special holiday meals provided by drop-ins are noted. The information on this list has been created by the Toronto Drop-In Network (TDIN) from information provided by TDIN members and Daily Bread Food Bank.

The information is accurate as of March 17, 2016 but is subject to change. Please call ahead to confirm services, meals and hours!


Date Added: March 17, 2016 | Comments Off on Easter Holiday Weekend Meal Programs & Drop In Hours | Filed under: Blog,Meal Programs,News — Tags: , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 10:55 am



Daily Bread Food Bank announces new food programs in Etobicoke and Scarborough

As Daily Bread’s Spring Drive starts, Executive Director Gail Nyberg announced new community partners who are working with Daily Bread to expand much-needed food programs in Etobicoke and Scarborough.

Where poverty is moving in Toronto

Daily Bread’s Who’s Hungry report identified a drastic shift in where poverty is moving in Toronto. Priced out of the downtown core, people on low incomes are being pushed to the inner suburbs of Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke. Rent in these areas may be slightly more affordable but there is also a lack of social services, including food programs, to support people on low incomes. Food bank visits in these areas have risen by 45 per cent since 2008, and the few food programs that are available are stretched to their limits.

New food programs in Etobicoke and Scarborough

In response, Daily Bread has been working with a number of community organizations to develop new food programs in these under-served areas. In early September, the doors of Toronto West Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church Food Bank opened in north Etobicoke. Initially serving 32 households, they now serve over 75 households each week. Daily Bread is also partnering with Canadian South Asian Growth and Support Services and Working Women Community Centre to open a new food bank in Scarborough, starting in June.

Hunger is about more than food

“At Daily Bread, we believe that food is the most basic need of all,” said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread’s executive director. “But, as a community we need to ask why people in this city can’t afford to feed themselves and their children. And we need to look to our city government, the Ontario government and the federal government, and ask why they think it’s acceptable that a third of people coming to a food bank are children.”

Daily Bread’s Spring Drive

Donations to Daily Bread’s Spring Drive will allow Daily Bread to partner with more organizations to provide nutritious food to those people who are struggling with hunger. The Spring Drive ends April 1, with goals of $225,000 and 150,000 pounds of food. Financial donations can be made easily and securely online at www.dailybread.ca or by mailing a cheque to Daily Bread Food Bank, 191 New Toronto St., Toronto, Ontario, M8V 2E7. Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at any local fire hall.


Date Added: March 11, 2016 | Comments Off on Daily Bread Food Bank announces new food programs in Etobicoke and Scarborough | Filed under: Blog,Member Agencies,News,Spring Drive — Tags: , , — Sarah @ 1:15 pm



Order your local food favourite – and help fight hunger too!

UberEats logo-largeOn March 11, we’ve got a great way to give a little extra back to Daily Bread Food Bank.

We have partnered with UberEATS, a new food-ordering app that delivers the best of Toronto from the local spots you love right when you want it.  On Friday, March 11, UberEATS will donate $2 from every order to Daily Bread. That $2 is enough to pay for two whole meals provided to a child or adult who gets their groceries at a neighbourhood food bank.

“We’re all about celebrating the cities we serve, “says UberEATS Toronto general manager Bowie Cheung. “That’s why we are so excited to support a great Toronto organization that is working to end hunger in this city for almost 100,000 people a year.”

So, just by getting together for lunch with your workmates or winding up the week with friends for a bite after work, you can support a good cause. The more orders on UberEATS on March 11, the more meals we can provide to people in need.

Want to do more? It is easy to make a donation right here!  And, of course, we’re counting on you to run a food & cash drive to help us meet our Spring Drive goal.

Spread the word! Go to t.uber.com/ubereatsapp to download the UberEATS app and mark your calendars for Friday March 11 to help us in our fight against hunger.


Date Added: March 8, 2016 | Comments Off on Order your local food favourite – and help fight hunger too! | Filed under: Blog,News,Spring Drive — Tags: , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 8:54 am



Ontario Budget 2016: A strong commitment to social assistance reform

The 2016 Ontario budget took bold steps to transform an outdated income security system.

In our 2016 pre-budget consultation, we asked for changes that would help more low income Ontarians live in good health and dignity, as well as move toward a modern income security system that supports people’s transitions to employment and improve their income security. These were recommendations that were reiterated from our 2015 submission, where we outlined 5 key ideas from the final report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, Brighter Prospects, which we wanted to see implemented.

In their latest budget, the province has set out commitments to address three of those ideas. They include the $100 total increase to Ontario Works rates for single adults without children; a commitment to reduce (to 100 per cent) the claw back rate on child support payments for households receiving social assistance; and laying the groundwork for the introduction of housing benefit for low income people to better afford their housing.

Daily Bread Recommendation
2016 Ontario Budget
• Increasing the social assistance rates, in particular bringing the Ontario Works rate for single person households to the full $100 increase recommended by the commission. • Provided a further top-up to singles without children receiving Ontario Works — bringing their total increase to $25 per month more than last year, and $100 more per month than they received in 2012.
• Setting a withdrawal rate for child support payments based on a rationale and empirical evidence, and less than the dollar for dollar clawback that exists currently. • A commitment to introduce changes to social assistance rules so that families receiving social assistance who receive child support payments can benefit from more of this income.
• A commitment to examine and design a Housing Benefit to help all low income tenants in Ontario better afford their housing. • A commitment to the development of a framework for a portable housing benefit, and transformation of social and supportive housing programs.

• $2.4 million in 2016–17 to pilot a new portable housing benefit that would offer more options for those fleeing domestic violence, benefiting approximately 500 households.

In addition to these commitments, the province has also committed to Basic Income pilot project.

A “Basic Income” is an income which would provide households with enough money that they wouldn’t have to live in poverty. The amount of income a household receives would either replace or complement other forms of income they might be receiving, such as child tax benefits or social assistance, in order to bring them above a pre-determined “poverty line”.

Many see the idea of a basic income as one that replaces the outdated form of provincial social assistance which provides only very low levels of income, as well as has restrictive rules which create barriers to escaping poverty. In the 2016 budget, the province seeks to pilot a project which would address these issues, including providing improved and more seamless financial support for those making the transition from welfare to work.

We’re hopeful that the results of this pilot project will provide the evidence needed to create further, large scale changes to the income security support system in Ontario.

Other important steps that still need to be taken

In the meantime, the Province should continue to increase the liquid assets allowable for those on social assistance. Low asset limits can undermine financial resiliency and jeopardizes retirement savings, which makes it more difficult to escape poverty and may cost the government more in the long term. Currently, the allowable level of liquid assets is $2,500 for single people receiving Ontario Works and $5,000 for those on the Ontario Disability Support Program. While the allowable assets for those receiving Ontario Works have increased significantly in the last few years, Ontario should continue to increase asset levels for both programs in the near future.

Additionally, there needs to be work to replace rent scales in Rent Geared to Income (RGI) housing with the 30 per cent of income RGI calculation outlined in the Brighter Prospects report, which will help prevent the sudden spike in rent for tenants receiving social assistance who are able to earn added income from employment.


Date Added: March 1, 2016 | Comments Off on Ontario Budget 2016: A strong commitment to social assistance reform | Filed under: Blog,Government,In the News,News,Policy,Research — Tags: , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 8:56 am



Sort What You CAN and Join the Food Sort Challenge on June 15, 2016!

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On June 15, 2016, 21 teams will battle to win the Food Sort Challenge title! This event is a fast paced event where team of 10 members race against the clock to sort through 3,000 lbs. Our goal is to raise $45,000 and sort 63,000 pounds of food.

Your donations will be put to work right away. Every $1 allows Daily Bread to distribute $5 worth of food through a network of 136 member agencies and 200 meal programs. And that’s not all! The food you help to sort will be distributed across Toronto and served on the table of families that rely on Daily Bread for support.

Don’t wait – there are limited spots! Registration fee is $1100 per team. We are also asking all teams to fundraise for an opportunity to get closer to the title of Food Sort Challenge Champions! Register now and secure your team before it’s too late!

Click here to register!

Shifts you can choose from:

  • 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information, please contact Sandra at Sandra@dailybread.ca.


Date Added: February 9, 2016 | Comments Off on Sort What You CAN and Join the Food Sort Challenge on June 15, 2016! | Filed under: Blog,Events,News,Volunteer — Tags: — Adam Paralovos @ 10:19 am



Eliminating Hunger in our City: Toronto Budget 2016

In order to make a real impact in helping to reduce hunger for our vulnerable residents, strong investments have to be made in it so that people can better afford to purchase their own food. In addition, new approaches to coordination and planning have to take into account the extensive network of community-based food organizations that already exist.

On November 4, 2015, Council unanimously approved TO Prosperity, Toronto’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy which recommended actions to create good jobs, improved transit, housing, childcare and other services. Given that all three levels of government are now committed to poverty reduction, the stars have aligned and there is potential to make a large dent in the growing poverty in our City.

In a letter signed by leaders from over 50 civic organizations including Daily Bread Food Bank, and endorsed by the Toronto Region Board of Trade, groups urged Mayor John Tory and members of Toronto City Council to move on 49 recommendations that will advance the city’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The recommendations in this letter came from hundreds of individuals and community groups who took part in consultations through the Commitment 2 Community coalition. Their input in these consultations was guided from seeing or experiencing first-hand the impact of poverty. While the majority of these recommendations would require no monetary investment in 2016, the City’s proposed $6 million falls far short of the $75 million required to implement the remaining third of the recommendations.

It is important that the 2016 Budget make a significant down payment toward reducing poverty in our City. Through a combination of new approaches, careful planning and strong investment, the City has potential to both improve the quality of life for its vulnerable citizens, and the ability for front line agencies such as food banks to better address hunger in our communities.

Helping Toronto residents afford foodITALIC1

“I’ve been waiting for housing for 5 years and they tell me it’s another 10 year wait. All the money I get goes to rent.” Respondent from Who’s Hungry survey

Daily Bread’s latest Who’s Hungry report shows that there were nearly 900,000 visits to Toronto food banks in the last year alone, with a 45 per cent increase in the inner suburbs since 2008. On average food bank clients are spending 71 per cent of their income on rent, and access help for an average of two years, whereas a few years ago it was only one year. Even though a main driving force of food bank use is due to social assistance policy at the Provincial level, many day to day struggles for clients intersect with other issues that affect their ability to afford food, including high housing, child care, and transit costs. These are areas that the city can have an impact on through some of these recommendations from the coalition, which would result in concrete outcomes that could reduce the need for food banks for clients of Daily Bread member agencies. They include: making rents affordable for 7,000 households; providing access to subsidized childcare to 1,500 children in families that are struggling to afford childcare; and ensuring stable jobs and decent wages for workers delivering city services.

Helping food programs access suitable space

“We’re in a vulnerable neighbourhood, but don’t have access to a suitable space that’s affordable – we’re a breath away from having to close.” Helena Houldcroft, Flemingdon Park Food Bank

Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit organization that provides food and support to almost 200 food programs and 136 member agencies across Toronto. There are many Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies operating in almost every ward throughout the city. The majority of our member agencies run their food programs in local churches and community centres. Dedicated staff and volunteers in these agencies pick up, stock, and ITALIC2distribute food to people in their community in addition to providing other services to support people on low incomes.

While the goodwill and workforce to distribute food to those that are hungry are bountiful, the available space to run these programs are not. Available space to operate food programs in the inner suburbs is sparse, and those that are available are bursting at the seams to accommodate the 45 per cent increase in visits since 2008. The spaces that already exist, especially those in the city core, are at risk of being lost or are already disappearing due to rising rents, redevelopment, and relocation. Some examples include:

  • A food bank in Flemingdon Park, struggling to pay its rent, having to operate out of an inaccessible basement despite being located in an area with high levels of poverty;
  • A pre-natal program serving pregnant mothers and infants in Parkdale that can only serve a fraction of the number of families it could serve previously due to being relocated to a much smaller space;
  • A food bank in east Toronto being closed due to high rent.

Despite being an essential source of food for tens of thousands of Torontonians, Daily Bread and food programs operate largely outside of government and do not receive government funding. On its own, Daily Bread moves about $22 million worth of food on a budget of about $7 million, relying primarily on private donations from individuals and corporations. The impact of this money could be far greater if the City could assist in increasing the availability of space, either through its own properties, or helping to make connections with those that have access to space. This would enable the City to play an essential role in helping to reduce hunger, and do so at little, if any, cost. A key recommendation from the coalition – ensure programs have access to schools and other facilities – requires no cost, but would need strategic coordination and planning, and consultation with communities in need.

Providing support for small infrastructure

“If you don’t have proper storage it doesn’t matter how much food you have.” Food Bank CoordinatorITALIC3

Where many local food banks face serious financial constraints is the ability to afford the infrastructure requirements necessary to run food programs that meet the needs of local communities. As one participant in Daily Bread’s consultation mentioned, if you don’t have proper storage facilities, it doesn’t matter how much food you have. In addition to the lack of space mentioned previously, many food programs have difficulty affording and repairing the large commercial freezers that are necessary for storing perishable food. Another recommendation from the coalition asked for “3 to 5 more staff to support the development of community food hubs and funds for small infrastructure.” Support of the infrastructure that already exists in Toronto could include that a granting process be made available for food programs which could provide the capital and core funding for essential equipment like large freezers, and other infrastructure improvements.

A Vision of Ending Hunger in our City

The City of Toronto has produced a bold strategy to reduce poverty in our City. In order to make a real impact in helping to reduce hunger for our vulnerable residents, strong investments have to be made in it so that people can better afford to purchase their own food. In addition, new approaches to coordination and planning have to take into account the extensive network of community-based food organizations that already exist. Daily Bread, and its vast agency network that helps feed Toronto, work to provide nutritious food for thousands of people who cannot afford it. With a strong financial commitment to the Poverty Reduction Strategy from the City, we can make a real difference in ending poverty and hunger in our communities.


Date Added: January 27, 2016 | Comments Off on Eliminating Hunger in our City: Toronto Budget 2016 | Filed under: Blog,Government,News,Research — Tags: , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 3:49 pm



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