Apr 11, 2023

How Volunteers Power Daily Bread Food Bank 

You can tell when a pallet of food was picked by Lorie Scarfarotti. When she picks the order for our on-site food bank, she decorates it with cheerful doodles on pink Post-it notes. Her plastic-wrapped pallet on March 21 was covered in cartoon flowers and one sticky that said: “Happy Spring!” 

Our volunteers, like Lorie, are the beating heart of Daily Bread Food Bank. Their efforts put member-agency orders on our trucks and hot meals on clients’ plates. And their good humour brings joy into what can be heartbreaking daily work. In celebration of this National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 16-22, we’re shining a light on this dedicated group with an awards ceremony and small gift as a token of our deepest thanks. 

“None of it could happen without the volunteers,” said Joelle Bérubé-Cheng, our Volunteer Services Manager. “They’re the biggest support for the work that’s happening here.”  

Last fiscal year, over 1,200 volunteers came through our doors, dedicating an astonishing 51,742 hours of their time. With their help, we: 

  • Distributed over 18.6 million pounds of food to member agencies, each pallet hand-picked from our warehouse shelves according to the agency’s custom order 
  • Prepared 157,808 heat-and-eat meals for drop-in centres and meal-delivery programs 
  • Served nearly 55,000 client visits at our on-site food bank 
  • Sorted and packed close to 3.5 million pounds of food donations so we could get them out into the community 

“It’s just incredible when you see the amount of workforce that shows up to help,” said Joelle. “It’s just — mindblowing.”  

To all our volunteers, especially on National Volunteer Week: Thank you so much for all you do to ensure people across Toronto can access the food they need! We’re so lucky to have such a tireless team. “They’re really dedicated to the cause,” Joelle said. “They’re such great spirits; they’re so much fun and lovely people to work with.” 

The people are the reason Lorie keeps coming back. She loves joking with her fellow volunteers and the warehouse staff about particularly well-stacked pallets or others that resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. She practices her Italian with a retiree, Agostino. She wrote a middle-grade novel, “Running Through It,” and it became the first English-language book that fellow warehouse worker Maria, a young woman from Portugal, ever read. “It was the cause that got me here in the first place. But why I stay is in large part the people that work here and volunteer here,” Lorie said. “It’s just a really, really special mix.”  

To learn more about volunteering at Daily Bread Food Bank, please visit this site. 

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