For many people coming to a food bank for the first time, it’s because of an unexpected crisis – a disability, sudden illness or a job loss. It’s a single mom who can’t make ends meet. It’s your neighbours who are working multiple part-time jobs but still can’t get enough hours to make ends meet. It’s parents who are struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table; waiting years on Ontario’s affordable housing list along with over 165,000 other households.
Daily Bread’s Holiday Drive starts today, with goals of $2.5 million and a million pounds of food.
The money and food that is raised during the Holiday Drive helps Daily Bread provide food for over 200 programs and thousands of people who are struggling with hunger in Toronto over the winter months.
From food banks and community food centres to women’s shelters, drop-in programs or hostels, many of our member agencies are doing far more than providing food. Most are multi-service agencies that run innovative programs supporting and empowering people on low incomes all while advocating for long-term solutions to poverty. But people can’t wait for those solutions on an empty stomach, which is why in addition to working towards solutions, Daily Bread also collects and distributes millions of pounds of food for over 58,000 food hampers every month.
Most needed food items include: pasta, dried/canned beans or lentils, rice, canned fruit and vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned fish/meat, oatmeal, baby formula/cereal and food as well as high fibre/low sugar cereal. Food donations can be dropped off at any local fire hall or participating grocery store.
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, M8V2E7. Every dollar donated means Daily Bread can provide $5 worth of food.
About Daily Bread Food Bank
Daily Bread Food Bank is a registered charity that is fighting hunger in our communities. A distribution hub, Daily Bread provides food and support to almost 200 food programs across Toronto. Daily Bread also works towards long-term solutions to hunger and runs innovative programs to support people on low incomes including a community garden, food services training program and an information and referral services program that trains member agencies to support food bank clients by connecting them to community resources.
From an article in today’s Toronto Star about hunger and how it is affecting people in Toronto. Watch the video to hear Daily Bread’s executive director, Gail Nyberg, talk about hunger.
“While the number of annual visits to the agency fell, use of food banks across the country is rising, particularly among singles. It remains stubbornly high for families with children.
Some economists say food bank use is also surprisingly high among people who earn minimum wage, or receive provincial social assistance and Employment Insurance — a sign that government policies on wages, financial support and housing need to be re-examined.”
Daily Bread is always looking for donations of healthy, non-perishable food. High in fibre, low in fat and an excellent source of protein, everyone should eat more beans. Beans are also high in iron and potassium. Protein is an important building block for your body – helping to repair and build tissue give you the energy you need for the day. There are more than 1400 species of beans – here’s a few you can donate, canned or dried!
A recently released report “The State of Homelessness in Canada”, reported that 35,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night, and over 235,000 experience homelessness every year. Over three-quarters (or 180,000) of those who are homeless stay in emergency shelters. Emergency shelters, along with other short-term provisional accommodations such as health care facilities, social services and correctional institutions cost the Canadian economy $7 billion a year.
The report highlights key reasons why homelessness has emerged as an increasingly significant problem: not just for people who are currently living on the street, but also those who are at an increasing risk of being homeless. That includes the nearly 1 in 5 households who are spending 50 per cent or more of their income on rent. These key reasons include incomes that have not kept up with the rate of inflation, reduced pension and social assistance levels, combined with a shrinking supply of affordable housing.
The report also emphasizes that the solution requires increasing the availability of affordable housing. Another recommendation, that Daily Bread has also recommended to the Ontario government, includes the introduction of a housing benefit. A housing benefit is similar to child tax benefits, except it would also be available to households without children. It would be a direct payment made to households who are struggling to be able to afford a place to live.
Hunger and Homelessness
The driving forces of hunger are similar to the driving forces of homelessness. For people going to food banks in the GTA, a key issue is the cost of keeping a roof over their head. Food bank clients in the GTA spend on average 71 per cent of their income on rent and utilities. Food is often considered a “luxury”, with nearly a third of clients giving up a meal to be able to afford their rent. Thirty-six per cent of clients report that they have not eaten for an entire day within the last year due to lack of money.
Similar to emergency shelters and other provisional services that exist for homelessness, food banks exist to provide immediate assistance to help people cope with the issues that are keeping them in poverty and require long-term solutions, such as the lack of affordable housing.
A Housing Benefit
This is why Daily Bread recommends the implementation of an Ontario housing benefit. A housing benefit would provide monthly support to help low-income tenants close the gap between their incomes and the cost of their rent. If people can better afford their rent, it will be easier for them to afford food. A housing benefit given to help cover rent costs would help many to be able to both pay their rent AND put food on the table, whether they are receiving social assistance or working.
Daily Bread’s own Growing for Change Garden is wrapping up its 7th growing season with a harvest that includes a healthy crop of kale. While the apple trees didn’t react well to such a cool summer, the cherries had a bumper crop this year.
“Community gardens are a wonderful program that many of our member agencies coordinate in their own neighbourhoods,” said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread’s executive director. “Many food bank clients don’t have access to space for a garden. Gardening can be time-intensive as well, and many people don’t have the time to spend hours in the garden.” Daily Bread is lucky to have a team of great volunteers who look after the onsite garden for the New Toronto Street Food Bank.
Although gardens in and of themselves won’t solve the problem of hunger in our city, they are a part of helping to provide people with more access to healthy fresh fruits and vegetables as well as promoting community-building. Hunger is primarily a result of a lack of income.
The garden at Daily Bread is actually separated in to two areas. One is a community garden that offers plots to low income neighbours of member agency LAMP. The other half is a production garden for Daily Bread’s onsite food bank that is looked after by a dedicated team of volunteers who spend countless hours growing, weeding, watering, mulching and harvesting.
Date Added: | Comments Off | Filed under: Blog,News — Jessica @ 11:00 am
Thanks to everyone who came out to volunteer at Daily Bread’s Thanksgiving Drive Public Food Sorts! Canadian Olympians came to volunteer on Saturday, and mayoral candidates Olivia Chow, Doug Ford, Ari Goldkind and John Tory came to visit Monday morning.
Almost 600 volunteers helped sort and pack 112,459 lbs of food.
For those of you calling Daily Bread Food Bank, please be aware that our voice mail system is down and in the process of being repaired. In the meantime, while you can make calls, you will not be able to leave voicemails.
If you are trying to contact staff by phone and they are not available, please try contacting them by email. For the majority of staff, this is their first name followed by @dailybread.ca.
The Food Sort Challenge is back for another round on January 15, 2015!
The Food Sort Challenge is the fastest, wildest and the most popular fundraising event of the year! Taking place at Daily Bread’s warehouse, 21 teams will compete against each other and the tick tock of the clock to sort and pack 3,000 pounds of food into 35 different categories in the fastest time possible. This is a fantastic way to work with your colleagues in a fun-packed event while making a difference in the fight against hunger.
Daily Bread’s Food Sort Challenge hopes to raise $50,000 and sort 63,000 pounds of food.
All of the donations raised will be put to work right away. Every $1 allows Daily Bread to distribute $5 worth of food through a network of 142 member agencies and 200 food programs. The food your team helps to sort will be distributed across Toronto to families that rely on Daily Bread for support.
The registration fee is $1000 per team. We are also asking all teams to fundraise for an opportunity to get closer to the title. For every $500 you raise in pledges buys your team 30 seconds OFF your final sorting time AND any food donations collected as part of a drive and brought to the event will be added to the FINAL weight your team sorts. Register now and secure your team before it’s too late.
There are three different shifts on January 15 to choose from:
As we observe the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, it is important to remember that poverty exists right here in our city. Despite being the commercial capital of Canada, Toronto saw nearly 900,000 visits to food banks last year. Over 40 per cent of clients surveyed report going hungry at least once a week, and a third of clients even report not eating for an entire day due to lack of money.
And these numbers only show those who come to a food bank. Many more are hungry and still do not access a food bank. This could be because of pride which may prevent some from asking for help; not knowing where food banks are in the community; or not being able to afford the transit fare necessary to get to a food bank that is not walking distance.
Hunger in the GTA is the result of a lack of money, not a lack of food
The driving force of hunger and poverty in the GTA is not a lack of food – but is the result of low incomes as well as an inadequate income support system, which are not keeping up with rising food and housing costs. These are big issues, which require big solutions – including a transformed income security system, more affordable housing and other initiatives which help people put food on the table AND keep a roof over their head.
These bigger solutions are possible, and we have seen evidence of that: we have seen a reduction in child poverty and food bank use among families with children in the past few years. An improved economy has helped, but continued investments in government programs, such as the Ontario Child Benefit, played an essential role as well.
However one size does not fit all: to reduce poverty and hunger further, a range of solutions needs to be developed, planned and implemented. And in the meantime, people need to eat.
Food banks: Fighting hunger today and tomorrow
“Without the services of the food bank, my mom and I would go hungry a lot more. It really helps us get through a couple weeks and the friendly volunteers are wonderful…and I would just like to say, thank you.”
~ Survey respondent, 2014 Who’s Hungry Survey of people accessing food banks across the GTA.
Food banks are a local, community driven response to poverty. They help people fill their cupboards and stomachs during periods of financial difficulty. People accessing our food banks often tell us that by getting help with food, there is one less thing for them to worry about until they get back on their feet. Clients show us that despite seemingly insurmountable barriers, moving forward and climbing out of poverty is still possible.
While providing food on its own will not solve hunger in the long term, food banks are most often anti-poverty, multiservice organizations working on long term solutions. And while we work towards these long term solutions, we will continue to do our best to help people get the food they need.