Since 1999, Canstruction Toronto has been uniting the local design community in a unique fundraiser that gives back to people struggling with hunger: a canned sculptures competition.
These ‘Canstructures’ are feats of creativity and ingenuity, and a panel of judges award teams in categories such as ‘Best Use of Labels’ and ‘Best Meal’, which looks not only at the design, but also what kind of food is being used to make it.
22 Canstructures and 63,000 pounds of food
This year’s Canstruction raised over 63,000 pounds of food for Daily Bread Food Bank.
“We’re thrilled to receive such high-quality donations of some of our most-needed food items. It is especially important at a time when we’re seeing sudden increases in client visits this spring, combined with lower donations, said Richard Matern, Daily Bread’s senior manager of research.
“Twenty-two structures were built, but we are down to twenty-one and in mourning for a structure that didn’t make it,” announced Canstruction co-chair Helen Kabriel, at Tuesday’s awards ceremony. “But the food survived, and that’s the most important part.”
Visit TD Centre this week
Rebanks Pepper Littlewoods Architect Inc – Strike Out Hunger
Until Friday, you can head down to the TD Centre and see the Canstructures for free. On Saturday, the constructions will be deconstructed, and all the tuna, peanut butter and canned fruits and vegetables that make up a smiling Buddha, emoji, tea cup and a robot will be distributed through the hundreds of food programs across Toronto that Daily Bread supports.
Vote for the People’s Choice Award!
There is also one more award Canstruction Toronto needs to give out, and they need your help to award it. From now until June 2, go to https://www.facebook.com/canstructionTO vote by ‘liking’ your favourite Canstructure picture on Facebook through the Canstruction Toronto page.
Quadrangle – Winner of Best Meal
Best Meal Winner, up close!
Entuitive with PCL Constructors and Parkin Architects – Winner of Best Use of Labels
GM BluePlan Engineering Limited – Winner of Juror’s Favourite
Want to work for an innovative organization that is making a difference every day? Daily Bread Food Bank is looking for a creative individual to fill the role of Communications Assistant. This is an 8-week position through the Canada Summer Job Program, starting Monday, June 6.
This summer, gain valuable experience writing and publishing stories for digital and print, as well as putting your interviewing skills to work! In addition to being an excellent writer, we are looking from someone who is a team player that can work independently in a fast-moving environment. This position is ideal for students enrolled in programs related to communications, public relations, fundraising, marketing or social work.
To apply for this position you must meet the Canada Summer Job Programs eligibility requirements, which include being between 15 and 30 years of age and a full-time student this past year who intends to return to school on a full-time basis next year.
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.
This is no April Fool’s joke….today is the last day of Daily Bread’s Spring Drive!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
On 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.