The Who’s Hungry report is an in-depth annual profile of hunger in Toronto, based on over a 1000 surveys with people visiting food banks across Toronto. Daily Bread Food Bank could not do this report without the assistance of volunteers, we need over 50 volunteers to help conduct the surveys! Training is provided in February and surveys are on-going until mid-April. The hours and location of your volunteering are flexible and based on food bank hours and your availability so whether you have a little time or a lot, we need your help!
We are looking for people that are self-starters who are compassionate and possess excellent interpersonal skills. You must be fluent in English; other languages are an asset.
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 food
“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 distribute 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 Coordinator
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.
Thanks to your generous support, Daily Bread raised an amazing $2.3 million and over 600,000 pounds of food during the Holiday Drive.
While Daily Bread didn’t quite reach its Holiday Drive goals, the food and money raised during the last month will help keep Daily Bread’s shelves stocked and our trucks running, distributing healthy and nutritious food to almost 200 food programs across Toronto.
And just because the Holiday Drive has stopped, doesn’t mean Daily Bread has! Hunger is a year-round problem, which means you can donate online, volunteer, or drop off non-perishable food donations to your local fire hall throughout the year as well.
Thanks to everyone who donated, volunteered or took the time out of their busy holiday schedules to organize a food or fundraising drive!
A holiday tradition for many, over 600 hundred volunteers will be sorting and packing food donations at Daily Bread’s warehouse.
The Holiday Drive ends December 31 with goals of $2.5 million and 1 million pounds of food. As of December 24, $1,693,000 and 524,000 pounds of food have been donated.
Note: Daily Bread is fully booked for public sorting. No volunteers are required. Daily Bread Food Bank will be closed the afternoon of December 24.
Monday, December 28: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. & 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 29: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. & 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
WHERE:Daily Bread Food Bank at 191 New Toronto Street (Off Islington, north of Lakeshore)
WHO: Gail Nyberg, Executive Director, Daily Bread Food Bank
GENERAL HOLIDAY DRIVE INFORMATION
The fastest, easiest way to make a financial donation is online at www.dailybread.ca. Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at any local fire hall or participating grocery stores. Most needed food items include peanut butter, canned fish, canned vegetables and fruit, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, canned/dried beans, baby food, cereal and formula.
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. For more information on Daily Bread Food Bank, please visit www.dailybread.ca.
For more information:
Sarah Anderson Austin
Senior Manager, Communications
T: 416-203-0050 ext. 238 C: 416-450-2196
Still struggling with what to get that hard-to-shop-for relative on your shopping list? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered!
This holiday, share the joy of giving by choosing the perfect gift in the Daily Bread Gift Guide. Your friends and loved ones will appreciate a gift that will feel good and do good. And you can choose to send a digital card to your cousin Jim or print one out to give to Great Aunt Fern.
Purchasing something from the Daily Bread Gift Guide will provide meals for those who would otherwise go hungry this winter.
This December, find a unique gift that’s guaranteed to make a difference in your community. Just click, send, and cross another gift off your list!
Date Added: December 18, 2015 | Comments Off on Pick your gift, send a holiday card & share the joy! | Filed under: Blog,News — Sarah @ 12:01 pm
Friday, December 18 an annual tradition returns! Breakfast Television’s annual Spirit of the Season, a Christmas party with a giving attitude. Viewers are invited to come see the show live in the lobby of the Sheraton Centre (123 Queen Street West). Starting at 5:30 a.m., the whole BT gang will be in attendance and you can be too!
Spirit of the Season will wrap up with CityNews on hand to deliver the news, weather and your traffic reports live.
Don’t forget to bring a non-perishable food donation or drop off a cash donation to the Daily Bread team while you are there!
UPDATE December 15 10:21 a.m.: The Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts are full.
Don’t worry – if you weren’t able to register for a spot but you were really hoping to help Daily Bread Food Bank, there are many other ways to support Daily Bread and the Holiday Drive!
1. Donate! Drop off non-perishable food donations to your local fire hall. Make a gift online. Help us reach our goals of $2.5 million and 1 million pounds of food by December 31.
2. Run a food drive or event! It’s easy, and we can help. Run a food drive at your school or in your workplace. Having a holiday party? Why not ask guests to bring a non-perishable food donation instead of a gift?
3. Volunteer throughout the year. While we need people to help sort through the Holiday Drive food donations, we also need volunteers throughout the year. It doesn’t stop just because the holidays are over! Consider volunteering during March Break. Taking a stay-cation with the family this summer? Why not sign up to volunteer?
This year’s Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts will be held on Christmas Eve morning, as well as Monday, December 28 and Tuesday, December 29. For more information on shifts and how to register, please click here.
Can’t make it? The Holiday Drive is already underway! You can donate non-perishable food and drop it off at any fire hall across Toronto, or directly to Daily Bread’s warehouse at 191 New Toronto Street.
This Friday, December 11, Breakfast Television will return to Yorkdale Shopping Centre for its annual tree sale in support of Daily Bread Food Bank. Breakfast Television’s Jennifer Valentyne and Frank Ferragine will both be on hand from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. For a minimum donation of $10, you can pick out a tree to take home for Christmas.Thanks to the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario for generously donating the trees this year!