Jul 15, 2020

Daily Bread Food Bank’s Virtual Town Hall

On Tuesday, July 7 Daily Bread Food Bank hosted a virtual town hall with Mayor John Tory and Manjura Rehman, founder and executive director of Canadian South Asian Growth & Support Services (CSAGSS). Together with our CEO, Neil Hetherington, they discussed
what has been collectively achieved to-date, thanks to the generous support of our community members, and the work and opportunities that lie ahead.

Over the course of an hour they explored topics ranging from the innovative ways their organizations have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic to help serve the members of the community, what they’re most proud of, the challenges they anticipate as we pivot from emergency response to planning for recovery, and more importantly what lessons have been learned over the past three months to help inform our recovery.

Unfortunately, due to a technical issue, we were unable to record the event. 

Below we’ve included responses to the questions posted about Daily Bread during the Q&A.


We are so grateful for everyone who is interested in volunteering with Daily Bread.  Due to safety restrictions, we are presently only able to host 30 volunteers per day. 

The best way to stay informed about future volunteer opportunities is to set up a profile on our volunteer portal. We will email everyone as more spots open.  

All new and returning volunteers must do an orientation shift to learn about how new public health guidelines have impacted operations.  

Another impactful way you can support Daily Bread as a volunteer is to run a food drive in your community. Please contact Kathi Nicoll for more fundraising ideas and tools to support a ‘distanced drive’. 

Q – How can young people (university grads looking to get involved) get involved?  

A – In addition to running a community food drive, college and university students and graduates can support ad hoc projects and special events at Daily Bread. The best way to learn more about volunteer opportunities is to create a profile on Volunteer Hub.

Q – I took staying home very seriously but would like to begin volunteering again with food sorting asap. When will this be open again?   

A – If you are an existing volunteer, we’d be thrilled to have you back as space allows. Please contact Tira at [email protected]. Retuning volunteers are required to do an orientation to bring you up to speed on our current safety policies.  Currently, there are no volunteer positions for deliveries. 

Q – Can we seniors who are healthy come and volunteer. There are some of us in early 70’s that have the time and are wanting to help? 

A – Absolutely. There are no upper age restrictions on volunteering.  

Q – How will Daily Food encourage volunteers to keep up their momentum and hard work as the pandemic continues? Is an increased public awareness campaign a possibility? 

A – We communicate with our volunteers often to thank them and to let them know their impact on poverty and hunger in the city.  Another strong motivator is that the volunteers have become a part of the Daily Bread community. Due to public health restrictions, many cannot connect with their friends, families and other traditional communities (places of worship, hobby groups, etc.) and have formed connections at Daily Bread instead.   

While we currently have a waitlist for volunteering, we are working on a campaign that will help raise awareness of hunger and poverty in the city. 

Q – What are the most important volunteer roles that currently need additional support? 

A – Right now, volunteers support daily operations which includes sorting food, pickings orders for the food banks across the city, assisting the kitchen with their meal program, and serving clients at our on-site food bank.  

Another impactful way you can support Daily Bread as a volunteer is to run a food drive in your community. Please contact Kathi Nicoll for more fundraising ideas and tools to support a ‘distanced drive’. 

Q – How many employees and volunteers at DBFB?  

A – We average 60 full-time staff and 10,000 unique volunteers per year.  Right now, during the pandemic, we can host approximately 30 volunteers per shift.  


Q – How many food banks does Daily Bread provide to? 

A- Daily Bread distributes fresh and shelf-stable food, and fresh-cooked meals to 130 member agencies and 170 food programs across Toronto. 

Q – Is Second Harvest affiliated with your Food Bank or is it a separate entity? 

A – Second Harvest and Daily Bread Food Bank are two separate organizations who both play important roles in the city. Second Harvest is a food recovery organization that aims to reduce environmental impact of food waste. Daily Bread provides purchased and donated food to food banks and meal program across the city to assist individuals in coping with food insecurity.  Daily Bread also dedicates resources to advocate for systemic changes to reduce the amount of poverty in the City, and beyond. 


Q – How many supermarkets donate to DBFB? 

A – Many major grocery chains in the GTA donate to Daily Bread, with 156 stores participating in our public yellow bin program, and stores like Metro and Wal-Mart donation through national partnership programs.” 


Q – Do you prefer food donations or money donations? 

 A – While both food and funds are greatly needed, monetary donations allow us to make a greater impact. Due to the increased demand for food – and the decrease in public food donations during the pandemic, we find ourselves heavily reliant on buying food to fill the gap. Through our Food Industry partners, we can maximize our purchasing power and make every dollar count. 

For any questions regarding the City or the Mayor, please contact your local Councillor. 

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