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Because hunger doesn't wait for policy change.





Toronto City Budget 2018: More access, more equity

“We need to figure out a way to fund agencies to ensure that people have the nourishment that they need…It’s a shame that this is something that is needed, but it is. And we need to do our best as a city to find space for them.” Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) – Article from the Toronto Star, Tues. Jan 2, 2018

In its pre-budget submission to the City, the Toronto Food Policy Council made several recommendations to be considered in the 2018 Poverty Reduction Strategy work plan, including requesting the availability for space for a range of food related programming1.

Daily Bread Food Bank echoes this recommendation, in particular the recommendation to enable access to space in Toronto Community Housing properties for food banks and other food programming available to the wider community.

In many cases, accessing suitable space from which to distribute food can be as challenging as keeping up with the demand for food. In its commitment to its Poverty Reduction Strategy and creating a more fair and equitable city, the City of Toronto can use the 2018 budget as a recognition of the rapidly growing numbers of people struggling with hunger by providing access to its surplus space from which to run community led food programs such as food banks, at little or no extra cost to the city.

Demand for food banks in Toronto is growing rapidly, but available spaces from which to operate them are shrinking

From April 2016 to March 2017, there were a total of 990,970 client visits to Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank member agencies. This is the highest annual client visit number in Toronto since 2010, when the effects of the 2008 recession hit Torontonians with full force. This is 9 per cent higher than 2016, and 24 per cent higher than 2008.

The surge in demand has not only affected food banks’ ability to provide food, but in some cases their ability to accommodate growing numbers of clients in program spaces. Last year, 22 per cent of Daily Bread agencies reported they had difficulty in providing adequate waiting room space to accommodate people accessing the program.

The majority of Daily Bread’s 130 member agencies run their food programs in local churches and community centres, and the space available to accommodate clients is varied: some have large open spaces in churches, while others have their clients line in hallways, stairwells or outside. Challenges related to space include property maintenance and accessibility issues in the case of church-run programs, and lack of space and rent increases for some community centres. As Toronto continues to gentrify and available space with which to run food programs becomes more expensive and precarious, more neighbourhood food banks across the city will struggle accommodating clients in the future as the need continues to grow.

When does access to space for food programs in Toronto become an equity issue? The Scarborough story

The most recent census data shows that census tracts with the highest concentrations of people living with low income, as well as highest percentages of visible minorities, are in the northern and outer reaches of the city. Coincidentally, those are also the areas where there are not enough food banks to keep up with the demand; existing food banks are also located so far apart many clients can`t afford transportation to get to them. Additionally, the spaces in which these programs operate are themselves vulnerable to rapidly rising rent costs.

For Daily Bread member agencies, the area of the city where the issue of space is of particular concern is Scarborough.

“Currently we do not pay rent, however [the housing provider] is considering implementing a rent or utility cost for commercial tenants like us. We have significantly outgrown this space but with no rent n our budget, we are unable to move to a more suitable location.” Food bank in Scarborough

A hot real estate market is making it increasingly difficult for some food programs to either find or maintain a suitable space from which to operate. While some food programs are run by faith-based groups who have space provided free of charge by the sponsoring organization, others, such as those located in larger community centres or public housing units, have to pay for the space. This is especially an issue in north and east Scarborough which, compared to the city core, have less “’faith-based infrastructure” such as church space, which means food programs have to find other space that they can afford.

Food banks in Toronto, including those operated by multiservice centres, do not receive government funding and mostly rely on private donations. As affordable space in Toronto becomes more challenging to find, many food banks, including those in Scarborough, will be in an increasingly vulnerable position to maintain their operations, despite rapidly increasing need.

Of the seven wards in Scarborough that have Daily Bread member agency food banks:

  • Five have shown increases of over 10 per cent in client visits in the last year alone;
  • Wards 39 and 40, both in the Agincourt area of north Scarborough, have seen increases of over 70 per cent, the highest increases in the city.

Food banks in Scarborough report seeing high numbers of recent newcomers, including convention refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria. Many are paying on average 82 per cent of their income on rent and utilities, and have very little left over for essentials like food.

And it’s not just food banks that struggle to find or maintain space to operate in these areas. Other kinds of food-related programming that can be essential tools of community development for low income or newcomer communities, such as urban farming or community kitchens, also face ongoing roadblocks in finding space to run programs.

Many would agree that being able to access food is a human right. However lack of adequate income supports, alongside diminishing space from which to help low income communities, mean that this right is becoming increasingly out of reach for too many.

Help create a more equitable city: enable food banks to have more access to city-owned space.

By identifying and facilitating access to space of City owned properties for food access, the City can demonstrate its commitment to its Poverty Reduction Strategy, as well as equity and human rights.

Link to Daily Bread’s Who’s Hungry Report:
Link to ward map of Daily Bread agencies:

1 “That City staff identify spaces for use by community-led initiatives (both growing spaces, and office, program and cooking spaces), based on current inventories of surplus space, and that staff focus on NIAs in identifying these spaces.” Letter from the Toronto Food Policy Council to the Executive Committee of Toronto City Council, November 27, 2017.

Date Added: January 19, 2018 | Filed under: Blog, Government, In the News, Information, Member Agencies, News, Research — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 2:07 pm

20 Years of Impact

This year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Daily Bread are marking 20 years of working together to help Torontonians in need.

“Life circumstances can change without warning, and what Daily Bread does is vital to help people move from tough times into a better future,” says Gaylen Duncan, Country Operating Officer for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Thanks to Bank of America for their dedication, passion and generous support – and for two decades of better futures!

To read the latest issue of our Food for Thought newsletter please click here.

Date Added: September 7, 2017 | Filed under: Blog, News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 9:53 am

Toronto City Budget 2017

In order to balance the upcoming city budget, city departments have been instructed to cut their budgets by 2.6 per cent. This amounts to nearly $77 million in cuts, with the possibility of cuts to programs and services that help the most vulnerable in our city.

The city is looking into cutting homeless prevention services, dental programs, and rent subsidies for day care programs, in addition to stopping expansion of student nutrition programs.

The widening gap

While Toronto has a red-hot real estate market and a very competitive business environment, it also has the highest levels of working poor and child poverty in Canada.

City budgets that cut services to the most vulnerable, and increase user fees and transit costs well above the rate of inflation, while keeping property taxes below the rate of inflation, only reinforce this widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Budget cuts to the most vulnerable don’t save money – they just transfer the cost

Cutting or limiting the expansion of programs might balance a budget in the short term, but that does not eliminate their true cost – that cost is simply transferred to individuals.

Without student nutrition programs, many parents have to make choices about giving up food so their child can have breakfast, and many children may simply go to school hungry. Without daycare subsidies, parents may have to decide that taking that job may not be worth the cost of daycare. Without dental programs, people may have to sacrifice food money in order to fix that broken tooth.

Food banks across Toronto have been seeing a strong increase in demand in the past year, particularly in the former inner suburbs where the lower income population is more likely to live. Lack of affordable housing, combined with the recent rise in food prices, have led many to come to a food bank for the first time.

Food banks feed hungry Torontonians but are being stretched to their limits

Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit organization that provides food and support to almost 200 food programs and 136 member agencies across Toronto. Last year alone there were over 900,000 visits to these agencies and to North York Harvest food banks.

There are many Daily Bread Food Bank member agencies operating in almost every ward throughout the city. The majority of member agencies run their food programs in local churches and community centres. Dedicated staff and volunteers in these agencies pick up, stock, and distribute food to people in their community in addition to providing other services to support people on low incomes.

Food banks in the former inner suburbs are bursting at the seams, seeing a nearly 50 per cent increase in client demand since 2008. Food programs in the city core have disappeared or are at risk of disappearing due to gentrification, redevelopment and the accompanying increases in rent.

Despite being an essential source of food for tens of thousands of Torontonians, Daily Bread and food programs operate largely outside of government and do not receive government funding. On its own, Daily Bread moves about $22 million worth of food on a budget of about $8 million, relying primarily on private donations from individuals and corporations.

It is our hope that city council considers that cost savings in the short term need to be balanced against the financial and social impact on individuals living with low income, and on the non-profits that already struggle to serve them.

Find out more about the need for food banks in Toronto. Our most recent Who’s Hungry report is here:

Daily Bread member agencies operate in almost every ward throughout the city. Find out more about food programs in your ward here:

Date Added: January 11, 2017 | Filed under: Blog, Government, In the News, Member Agencies, News, Policy, Research — Tags: , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 1:47 pm

Keeping our trucks rolling!


Helping to keep us moving, Barrick Gold Corporation announced a three-year, $100,000 “Heart of Gold” sponsorship of Daily Bread Food Bank’s fleet of five food delivery trucks today. Peter Sinclair, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Heart of Gold Fund committee members braved the cold to check out the trucks, then stayed to help sort food for Daily Bread’s holiday drive.

Getting truck sponsorship is crucial: Daily Bread has five trucks that deliver and pick up donated food throughout Toronto five days a week. The trucks load up with food every morning between 7:30 am and 8:30 am, leave the warehouse to deliver food to agencies, then pick up food donations, and return by 4:30 pm. Daily Bread’s trucks travel an average of 25,000 km per year, and are key to providing groceries and meals for 110,000 client visits at almost 200 food bank and meal programs across the city.

Big festive thanks to Barrick for their support!

Date Added: December 21, 2016 | Filed under: Blog, In the News, Information, News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 11:59 am

Winter Holiday Meal Programs & Drop-In Hours

Click here to find out more information on meal programs and drop-in hours this winter holiday around Toronto. Special holiday meals provided by drop-ins are noted. The information on this list has been created by the Toronto Drop-In Network (TDIN) from information provided by TDIN members and community agenices.

The information is accurate as of December 20, 2016 but is subject to change. Please call ahead to confirm services, meals and hours!

Date Added: December 20, 2016 | Filed under: Blog, Holiday Drive, Information, Meal Programs, News — Tags: , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 9:43 am

Daily Bread Letter to Mayor Tory and Executive Committee

Today, the Executive Committee at City Council will meet to discuss the Budget Committee’s recommendation that a 2.6 per cent cut to all budgets be implemented for this year’s budget, in order to balance it. In response, Daily Bread Food Bank sent the following letter to Mayor Tory and the Executive Committee expressing our concerns about a blanket cut to services.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dear Mayor Tory and Executive Committee:

Tomorrow, you will have the opportunity to discuss how to make ends meet based on the budget committee’s call for a 2.6 per cent spending cut. This is the sixth consecutive year in which there will be budget reductions in a city which has unacceptable levels of poverty and hunger. Instead of making cuts that will negatively affect Toronto’s most vulnerable, we ask that you protect residents from further cuts to city services and infrastructure.

Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit organization that provides food and support to almost 200 food programs and 136 member agencies across Toronto. We ensure that those on low incomes who are struggling with hunger have access to nutritious food through food banks, homeless shelters, community food centres as well as meal programs. We also recognize that hunger is a symptom of poverty and to have any impact on reducing hunger, first we need to reduce poverty.

There is a widening gap between the have and have nots in this City. While Toronto has a red hot real estate market and a very competitive business environment, Toronto also has the highest levels of working poor and child poverty in Canada. And hunger is on the rise. Daily Bread’s latest Who’s Hungry report shows that there were nearly 900,000 visits to Toronto food banks last year, with a 45 per cent increase in visits to food banks in the inner suburbs since 2008. People are stretched to their limits due to high rental costs, and are skipping meals to afford TIC fare in order to get to jobs or doctors’ appointments. Member agencies are bursting at the seams in the former inner suburbs (e.g. Etobicoke and Scarborough), while food programs in the city core have disappeared or are at risk of disappearing due to gentrification, redevelopment and the accompanying increases in rent.

City budgets that see increases to user fees and transit costs well above the rate of inflation, while keeping property taxes below the rate of inflation, only reinforce this widening gap between the rich and the poor.

We ask that you do not balance a budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in Toronto.



Richard Matern
Senior Manager, Research
Daily Bread Food Bank
T: 416-203-0050 ext. 288


Date Added: June 28, 2016 | Filed under: Blog, Government, In the News, Information, News, Policy, Research — Tags: , , , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 9:00 am

Canstruction is building it once again!

giraffe     cans

The 2016 Canstruction Toronto event is gearing up! This is a competition held in Toronto and cities around the world where, each year, teams of designers, architects and engineers donate their time to build sculptures made entirely out of cans of foods. Last year’s Canstruction raised over 70,000 pounds of food. The canned food sculptures will be displayed in downtown Toronto from May 17 to 21 before being taken down and donated to Daily Bread Food Bank.

Still not sure what Canstruction Toronto is all about? Here’s a link to last year’s sculptures:

Date Added: April 5, 2016 | Filed under: Blog, Canstruction, Fundraising Events, News — Tags: , , , , , — Adam Paralovos @ 3:20 pm