Apr 13, 2020

Dear Toronto Public Library, From Daily Bread Food Bank.

It was a little over a month ago when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Toronto. In the wake of its powerful impact, Daily Bread Food Bank had to quickly adjust and shift operations to ensure those in need of food had a place to turn to.

Faced with uncertainty, our staff and a small team of dedicated volunteers rose to the challenge, ensuring that our day to day operations could continue; that food would be sorted, hampers packed, and that those who need it most would have access to food in these difficult times. We even set up a field hospital tent in our parking lot to adhere to social distance guidelines.

We have been making it work, but at a time when they are needed more than ever, one third of Toronto’s food banks have had to close down. Most food banks are volunteer-driven, and many volunteers are seniors, who are now staying home because they are vulnerable.

We could see the immediate increase in need, and decrease in available resources, but we needed support to fill gaps arising in our communities.

That’s where you came in – a beautiful partnership formed to support our broader work with the City of Toronto to serve our city’s most vulnerable residents.

Libraries have always been community hubs, and the staff, dedicated public servants committed to supporting these communities. During this time, it has been no different.

While our hearts were warmed when we heard that there was an overwhelming response to an urgent request to all library staff to volunteer in food bank distribution efforts, we were not surprised. Within 12 hours, over 75 staff members had volunteered their services –  the Daily Bread team grew that day, and for that we are truly grateful.

Working with you, and great organizations like North York Harvest Food Bank and Second Harvest, has been critical in addressing the needs of our communities, and we could not be prouder to be your partner in tackling food insecurity in Toronto.

As we continue to set up food distribution centers in library branches as alternate service locations for existing food banks, we are grateful to be working with an organization filled with the most caring people. We heard that you’re including age appropriate books in the hampers now too! We love this initiative and how much joy you’re spreading around the city.

We know that working 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, to pack hampers and staffing all 12 sites is tiresome. Please know, dear libraries, that all of your hard work is incredibly important to the people of Toronto facing food insecurity, and greatly appreciated by all of us (and we have the numbers to prove it!).

Together, since the launch on April 3rd, we have served over 6000 people from 2074 households through 12 sites, and our impact has been made even greater through the Red Cross Home Delivery Program! With their help, we have been able to provide food to an additional 1800 households, which brings our total food distributed to 143,101 lbs – we couldn’t have done this without you!

We know that there is a long road ahead, but it’s comforting knowing that we have partners like you, to ensure that food continues to go to the people, and communities that need it most.

With love and gratitude,

Daily Bread Food Bank

P.S. We hope you like the video created by Makers! We want to also give a very special thank you to their team, for capturing this initiative and telling our story in such a captivating way.

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