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Daily Bread Food Bank is proud to be a Charity Intelligence 2020 Top 100 Rated Charity
About Daily Bread Food Bank
Daily Bread Food Bank works towards long-term solutions to end hunger and poverty and runs innovative programs to support individuals living on low income and experiencing food insecurity. Daily Bread distributes fresh and shelf-stable food, and fresh-cooked meals to 118 member agencies and 173 food programs across Toronto. Daily Bread also publishes the influential Who’s Hungry report – an annual survey measuring trends in food insecurity and poverty in Toronto to educate the public and spark policy change.
Vision: End hunger in our city.
Mission: We collaborate with all to eliminate food insecurity and advocate for solutions to end poverty.
- Rights-based: We believe that food is a human right.
- Evidence-based: Our actions are informed by evidence and form impactful solutions.
- Creative: We continuously pursue new and refined solutions to serve the needs of our communities.
- Equitable: We embrace diversity of thought and actions and prioritize the voices of those affected by poverty.
- Accountable: Commitments we make are commitments we keep.
Rights-Based Approach to Food
At Daily Bread, we believe that food is a human right, not a privilege. No one should go hungry or face barriers to accessing food. Our Rights-Based approach to food distribution means that we are committed to the following:
- Providing low-barrier service as well as a choice of nutritious and culturally appropriate food at all food programs. We do not require documentation at food programs. We will facilitate access to food to anyone who needs it, regardless of circumstance.
- Providing respectful and dignified customer service at all food programs. We will foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.
- Empowering and prioritizing the people we serve. Our decisions will take into account the lived experience of the individuals we serve.
- Advocating for the realization of the Right to Food. We will collaborate with groups and individuals to affirm food as a human right through robust advocacy for policies that encourage government bodies to act on the root causes of poverty.
Food Insecurity in Toronto / Canada
Food is enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights. Yet despite having signed on to this international agreement, over four million Canadians are food insecure.
Last year, there were over one million visits to food banks in the Toronto region. This represents a 4% increase compared to the previous year. These staggering numbers tell us that the Right to Food is not being realized in our communities. This is particularly true for low-income neighbourhoods and for people who are racialized, Indigenous, or living with a disability.
- 1 in 5 people in Toronto are food insecure. [source]
- 1 in 5 adults live in poverty in Toronto. [source]
- 1 in 4 children live in poverty in Toronto. [source]
- 4.4 million Canadians are food insecure. [source]
- 1.2 million children in Canada are food insecure. [source]
Hunger is a symptom of poverty. It is a public policy issue that cannot be outsourced to charity. As the number of food bank visits continue to rise, food banks struggle to meet the ever-growing demand.
Realizing the right to food does not mean that the government is required to provide food directly to each citizen. Rather, it means that our federal, provincial, and municipal governments are responsible for creating an environment in which people have the physical and economic means and agency to access adequate food.
Realizing the right to food for all will take time, but Daily Bread is committed to meeting the immediate and ongoing needs of our communities by providing food relief while we advocate for long-term, systemic solutions to end poverty and food insecurity.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Insecurity
- Prior to COVID-19, there were an average of about 15,000 visits to Daily Bread member food banks per week. By June, this number had climbed to close to 20,000. By the end of August, Daily Bread member food banks were serving an average of 25,000 individuals each week.
- COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in food bank visits. By June, food bank visits in Toronto had increased by 22% compared to previous year. By August, Toronto food banks were seeing a 51% increase in visits.
- At the height of the first wave of COVID-19, Daily Bread food banks saw a 200% increase in new clients.
- Three quarters of respondents surveyed during COVID-19 who had never accessed a food bank before reported that they began using food banks because of the pandemic.
- Prior to COVID-19, one in four food bank survey respondents reported not eating for an entire day because they did not have enough money for food. During COVID-19, the frequency of going a full day without eating almost every month increased 20%.
- Before COVID-19, one in four children accessing food banks went hungry according to their guardian, and during the pandemic this increased to one in three.
Daily Bread's Response to COVID-19
When the COVID-19 emergency was declared in March 2020, thousands of individuals across the city who were already experiencing hunger were deeply impacted. It was essential to mobilize efforts to ensure that food bank clients had access to adequate supports.
As a member of the City of Toronto’s pandemic food access table, Daily Bread worked collaboratively with the City’s Emergency Operations Centre and food organizations across the city to ensure continuous food access. Through this collaboration, we helped to establish food security as a top priority in the municipal pandemic response.
We continue to work closely with government partners to improve access and adequacy of benefits for those who need them.
In partnership with Feed Ontario, 1,157,720 lbs of food were distributed as COVID-19 Emergency Food Boxes.
Programs and Services
Daily Bread is a member-based organization providing food to 173 food programs at 118 agencies across Toronto. Programs include:
- Meal programs: serve a sit-down, prepared lunch or dinner to their communities.
- Food bank programs: distribute up to 3 days of grocery items (fresh and canned) to their communities. Most programs are open weekly and clients can go to any food bank once every week.
- Snack programs: serve portable snack items that are quick and easy to eat (ie. granola bars, cookies).
- Tenant programs: are tenant-led, distributing grocery items (mostly shelf-stable items) to members within their specific community.
- Breakfast programs: serve a sit-down light breakfast to their community.
- Pre-natal programs: distribute grocery items (fresh and canned) to expecting parents and those with children 5 and under, within their specific community.
In addition, Daily Bread provides information and referrals to connect clients to services such as dental and vision care, mental health, housing supports, newcomer settlement services, employment supports.
Daily Bread also provides a variety of training programs to our network of member agencies, including safe food handling, information and referral services, crisis prevention and anti-oppression practices.
In 2020, Daily Bread distributed close to 13 million pounds of food – an 18% increase compared to the previous year.
- Clients visiting a Daily Bread member agency received an average of 2.6 days worth of food.
- Daily Bread’s on-site kitchen prepared and distributed 112,030 meal servings.
- In partnership with the Red Cross Mobile Program, 33,564 meals were delivered to individuals unable to visit food banks due to medical reasons.
- Over 50% of all food distributed consists of fresh and frozen (fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and alternatives, etc.)
Farm to Food Bank Program
Daily Bread’s Farm to Food Bank Program works directly with farmers across Ontario to provide food insecure communities with access to fresh and nutritious produce, while at the same time, helping the environment by diverting naturally imperfect produce from ending up in landfills.
Each week, Daily Bread trucks pick up over 60,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from 15 farm partners across Ontario. In 2020, 3,277,024 pounds of fresh produce were donated from farm partners and diverted from landfill – an 18% increase compared to the previous year.
Summer Produce Markets
Daily Bread’s Summer Produce Markets facilitate the right to food to underserved communities by providing a low-barrier way for residents to access fresh and healthy produce.
Last year, in partnership with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), and with the support of our Farm to Food Bank donors, Daily Bread delivered 156,573 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income residents in Scarborough and Etobicoke.
Research and Advocacy
Daily Bread’s new advocacy strategy, a key pillar in our three-year strategic plan, focuses in four key areas:
- Tackling deep poverty: Ensuring no one faces long-lasting, persistent poverty.
- Affordable housing: Ensuring a safe, affordable, adequate home for all.
- Economic and social resiliency: Ensuring resiliency to long-term chronic stresses (e.g., mental health, disability, social isolation) as well as acute shocks (e.g., job loss, eviction).
- Food Access: Ensuring that people have access to affordable, culturally appropriate, nutritious food.
This past year, Daily Bread has developed a number of policy submissions to advocate for poverty reduction, including:
- Submission to Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy consultations.
- Submission to Ontario’s consultations of new regulations for food donations.
- Submission to municipal and provincial annual budget consultations.
- Policy brief on social assistance reform.
- Policy brief on COVID-19 emergency response and recovery.
Each year, Daily Bread publishes the annual Who’s Hungry report, which profiles trends in hunger and food insecurity in Toronto.
With the help of 70 volunteers, over 1,400 surveys were conducted at over 50 book bank locations across the Toronto region.
The 2019 report found that despite the fact that food is a basic human right enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights, there were over 1 million visits to food banks in the Toronto region. In fact, food bank use in our city is growing at double the rate of the population.
Our research revealed that food bank clients are spending a staggering 74% of their income on housing, leaving a median of only $7.83 left per person per day for all other expenses.
This year’s Who’s Hungry report was the first in Daily Bread’s history to put forward recommendations for how all levels of governments can achieve the right to food by:
- Strengthening social assistance
- Expanding tax benefits and creating pathways out of poverty
- Investing in affordable housing and tenant protections
- Enhancing access to childcare
- Ensuring access to affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate food in all communities
- Adopting a human rights-based approach to decision making.
Hunger is a symptom of poverty – it is a public policy issue that requires public policy solutions. We are committed to collaborating with all levels of government to push for long-term, systemic change.
Volunteers at Daily Bread
Volunteers are essential to Daily Bread’s day-to-day operations. Last year, over 7,500 volunteers contributed close to 60,000 hours of service to Daily Bread. These committed individuals help to sort and pack millions of pounds of food, work in our food bank, help prepare nutritious meals in our kitchen and keep our warehouse running smoothly.
Allocation of Resources
Daily Bread’s Board of Directors has created a Pandemic Fund for the purpose of alleviating the effects of the current economic downturn on the city of Toronto.
The Pandemic Fund provides funds to allow the organization to help maintain client service levels in the event of decreased donations, increased client demand and operational changes resulting from the current pandemic.
Uses of the Pandemic Fund will be restricted to cover increases in food, cleaning, and other operating costs required to serve increased numbers of clients, while maintaining increased infection prevention and control standards. Funds may be used by the organization or directed to member agencies. Capital costs will be eligible to the extent that they address health and safety risks or build capacity for ongoing elevated client needs. The Board has transferred $13M into the Pandemic Fund this fiscal year.
To review our 2020 Annual Report and audited financial statements, click here.