Todd Lamswood always wanted to be a chef. As the Food Services Manager in Daily Bread’s kitchen, he gets to do that plus so much more.
Born and raised in Newfoundland, he studied at the Culinary Institute of Canada before moving across the country to study at Vancouver Community College, specializing in baking. When he returned to Newfoundland, he opened a bakery and café.
But how does a guy running a bakery in Newfoundland find himself in Toronto running an employment training program at one of Toronto’s largest charities?
“My brother-in-law told me about a café that helped women coming out of correctional institutes gain job skills to help turn their lives around. At the time, I thought it was a great idea, and only wished I could be involved in a program like that.” However, a life change had Todd closing up his bakery in Newfoundland and then moving to Toronto.
Upon his move to Toronto, Todd went to an employment workshop to try and figure out if cooking was still where he should be. Or was there something else? Todd remembered the café. He loved cooking and wanted to share his knowledge and help people learn – to do something that would give someone a second chance. Todd called Daily Bread Food Bank at exactly the right time and landed an interview, and then later a job, as an instructor in charge of growing Daily Bread’s Food Services Training Program.
The Food Services Training Program teaches people experiencing barriers to employment skills that help them get a job in the food industry. The kitchen prepares nutritious meals that are sent out to meal programs and provides food for the volunteers onsite at Daily Bread. Having a kitchen onsite also reduces the amount of food waste – fresh fruits and vegetables that can’t be shipped in time are turned in to soups and stews that can be frozen. During the eight years Todd has worked at Daily Bread, he has seen many people who have graduated from the 16-week program with employable skills, a sense of self-worth and new-found confidence. Past graduates have gone on to many different areas of food service; from high-end catering to restaurants and supervising a kitchen at a Daily Bread member agency. One graduate even became a health inspector for the government of Canada.
“Seeing the pride in people who complete the program makes this job worth it,” says Todd.
Date Added: August 7, 2014 | Comments Off | Filed under: Blog,News — Jessica @ 11:22 am
Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors. Daily Bread was one of 72 charities who received a 4-star rating this month for excelling in financial transparency, accountability to donors and cost-efficiency.
“Charity Intelligence’s research has found charities that are exceptional. This list of 4-star charities shows Canadians 72 charities that excel in accountability to donors, financial transparency and cost-efficiency. We hope Charity Intelligence’s ratings help donors get accurate, independent information in making important giving decisions,” said Kate Bahen, Managing Director of Charity Intelligence.
This is not the first time that Daily Bread has been recognized for its excellence in these areas. In 2012, Daily Bread became one of the first charities, and the first food bank, to be accredited under Imagine Canada’s comprehensive Standards Program, a national standards program for non-profits. This program rated Daily Bread as excelling in areas such as board governance, ethical fundraising, volunteer involvement, staff management in addition to financial accountability and transparency.
“As a charitable organization, our values have always included accountability. Accountability to our donors, our member agencies and the people we provide food and support to. We hold ourselves to the highest standards possible as we fight hunger,” said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread’s executive director.
After a successful program last fall, Daily Bread’s Community Kitchen is back starting July 4!
A hands-on cooking experience in Daily Bread’s kitchen, you will learn how to cook nutritious vegetarian dishes and share your own recipes. The group will meet each week to help prepare, cook and share a meal. This program is free.
Fridays, July 4 to August 22.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Daily Bread Food Bank’s Kitchen
191 New Toronto Street (Islington and Lakeshore in south Etobicoke).
There are still some spaces left. To register, or for more info, please contact Carolyn by email (email@example.com) or by phone at 416-203-0050 ext. 264.
Helen harvesting broccoli from this year’s garden at Daily Bread
“It helps so much. If it wasn’t for the garden, I wouldn’t be eating as much fresh food. Living on a pensioner’s income is hard. Access to fresh food at a reasonable cost is so important to your health.” – Daily Bread volunteer, Helen
The Garden and Food Bank
Last year, Daily Bread’s production garden produced over 1200 pounds of vegetables, fruits and herbs for people struggling with hunger. Helen has volunteered for the production garden for the last three years, as well as taking care of her own community garden plot at Daily Bread and volunteering for the onsite food bank. Semi-retired, she still needs to work since her pensioner’s income isn’t enough to live on. She knows how expensive fresh, organic produce is to buy.
“I love being able to grow and then deliver the food we harvest right to the people who need it most. I really enjoy seeing how delighted people are to receive fresh produce in their food hampers,” says Helen.
The garden at Daily Bread is divided in to two sections: a production garden that grows fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for the onsite food bank and a community garden through one of Daily Bread’s member agencies, LAMP.
Working in the garden
The Gardening Girls (and Guys)
Volunteering at Daily Bread for Helen has meant not only fresh vegetables in her kitchen but new friends. “When you get older, you realize the importance of friendship and staying connected,” says Helen. Helen has become close friends with many of the garden volunteers, who work tirelessly in the garden throughout the growing season. The original Gardening Girls have expanded and now include some Gardening Guys, a close-knit group who work hard with staff gardening coordinator Nikki to grow high-intensity yield crops such as tomatoes, beans, zucchini, spinach, strawberries for the New Toronto Street Food Bank.
As Ziyaad Mia washed his coffee cup the day before Ramadan a few years ago, he thought to himself that he wouldn’t be seeing much of that cup for the next 30 days. From that simple act came an idea for a fundraising campaign that has raised almost $100,000 for Daily Bread Food Bank and inspired countless people to give.
When Ziyaad thought about all the money he’d be saving by skipping meals (and coffee), he was reminded of all the people in Toronto who skip meals, but not by choice. Ziyaad wondered what would happen if he asked people to give up coffee for 30 days, and give the money they saved to a local food bank instead. He called up Daily Bread Food Bank and raised over $37,000 that summer to help fight hunger through Give 30.
Give 30 is meant to motivate people fasting during Ramadan to donate a portion of the money they save by skipping meals over the month. But Give 30 is not just for people celebrating Ramadan. It’s a cause everyone can get behind.
“Everyone can participate in the spirit of Ramadan,” says Ziyaad. “Brown bag your lunch for the month or tally up 30 days of coffee money and donate it,” he says. “Whatever amount it is, it can make a difference in the lives of those who don’t have enough to eat.
Our Ontario election fact sheets provide a good primer on the critical issues of hunger and poverty, but it is always good to look at all the full party platforms as well. We encourage everyone to follow the links below and read each party’s plan in its entirety.
Ontarians go to the polls on Thursday to elect a new provincial government. Recognizing governments have a significant role to play in reducing poverty and hunger, this is an important opportunity for you to elect a government committed to improving the lives of people accessing food banks in the province.
To help you stay informed, we put together an election fact sheet on each of the three main party’s position on issues critical to reducing hunger and poverty. To make it easier to follow, we divided the fact sheet up by the following key issues: Poverty Reduction Strategy; social assistance; Ontario Child Benefit; reducing barriers to employment; housing and other policies the party felt would contribute to poverty reduction. Where possible we used the direct communications we had with each party so you could get unfiltered responses.
It is worth noting that not all the commitments the parties have made appear in their formal platforms. In discussions with the parties, however, we were able to get in writing additional commitments that do not appear in the campaign platforms. While we are certainly happy to have commitments on poverty from all parties, we would have preferred to see them in all the campaign platforms as well, as a measure of that commitment.
When you vote on Thursday, keep in mind the thousands of people visiting Daily Bread’s member agencies each month. While food banks can help people in the short term, long term solutions are also needed if we are to make a dent in hunger in our communities!
Listen to Q107, 102.1 The Edge and AM640 tomorrow as they broadcast live from our Food Sort Challenge at Daily Bread!
15 teams will be coming in to see who can sort through 3000 pounds of food the fastest, with the winner being announced end of day.
Defending champions Randstad will be competing in tomorrow’s Food Sort Challenge. We talked with Randstad Technologies’ Craig Brown to find out what makes a Food Sort Challenge Winner!
How will you defend your title?
“I really don’t think we will change our strategy. We have the best people here and together we can accomplish great things. Win or lose, you can count on us bringing it to this competition”, said Craig. “Besides, we all know what a truly great impact it has. Having witnessed firsthand the energy and effort collectively, the will to win that the Randstad team has is fantastic to watch! Our motto is BEST PEOPLE, BEST ORGANIZATION, BETTER WORLD!”
What was your favourite part of the Food Sort Challenge last year?
“Just the camaraderie and team-building. It’s amazing when you see people come together in a healthy, competitive atmosphere. It’s a different kind of team-building. You know you’re giving back and making a big difference with your time and efforts.”
Have you ever tried to build a dinosaur out of canned food? How about a playground, a shark or a gigantic loonie? That’s what 19 groups did this past Monday night, spending hours building structures entirely out of canned food, as part of Canstruction.
Canstruction is an annual competition that sees teams of designers, architects and engineers donate their time and talent to build amazing canned food structures. Best of all, the food used to build these amazing structures is all donated to Daily Bread Food Bank.
Tuesday night the winners were announced in categories such as Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity and Juror’s Favourite.
Jennifer Bain, Toronto Star food columnist and Canstruction judge, announced the winner of Best Meal.
“Everybody deserves choice. Just because you use a food bank, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have choice”, said Jennifer. The winner of this category, AECOM, used a variety of canned and non-perishable food including whole wheat spaghetti, mixed beans, chick peas, fava beans, jackfruit, lychee as well as broccoli, celery and mushroom soups.
The real winner, as Daily Bread’s Executive Director Gail Nyberg told the crowd, are the thousands of people who are going to be using food banks this summer.
Canstruction will be on display in various spots around the TD Towers until Saturday, May 31.