COVID-19 Menu

Emergency Funding 2021 Our Response Impact Donate

COVID-19 and Second Harvest

At Second Harvest the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, guests and community partners is our top priority. In light of COVID-19, Second Harvest would like to share some of the adjustments we are making to our programs and services, as recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Food Deliveries and Pick-Ups

For the time being, Second Harvest will NOT be suspending any food deliveries or pick-ups and will continue to provide our essential service of food rescue and redistribution. We are actively determining the areas of risk and mitigating based on recommendations prescribed by PHAC. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will provide timely updates to you if/when we make any changes to our services.

Food Delivery & Pick-up Service Protocols

 For the health, safety and protection of our frontline staff and community partners, you can expect the following service changes and practices during upcoming deliveries:

  • Second Harvest drivers will place selected food donations on the edge of the truck and maintain a 2-metre distance from the edge of the truck. Agency staff/volunteers are asked to load their food donations from the truck, rather than our drivers passing it to you by hand. Please ensure you are prepared to receive food donations (i.e. have the appropriate personnel, equipment, etc. ready) based on this shift in
  • If your organization picks up from the Second Harvest warehouse, staff will place selected food donations on the edge of our dock, maintaining a 2-metre distance from the edge. Agency staff/volunteers are asked to load their food donations from the dock’s edge, rather than our warehouse staff passing it to you by hand. Please ensure you are prepared to receive food donations (i.e. have the appropriate personnel, equipment, etc. ready) based on this shift in protocol.
  • No partners are permitted to go on a Second Harvest truck. Only the Second Harvest driver will be allowed onboard
  • All trucks are equipped with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and tissues which our drivers are instructed to use after and before each delivery and pick-up.
  • Drivers will wear protective masks during deliveries and pick-ups.
  • If your organization has been impacted by a case(s) of COVID-19, it is mandatory that you report this information to Second Harvest. Please contact us immediately to make us aware of the situation.

If you have any questions or would like more details on the matter, please reach out to our Community Programs Manager, Rose Barcarse, Alternatively, you can call 416-408-2594.

Staff and Volunteers

At Second Harvest our priority is the health and safety of our volunteers and staff. As recommended by Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO), we have implemented guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with a focus on proper hygiene, hand sanitizing and handwashing. In addition, we are taking precautionary measures as it relates to volunteer activities at Second Harvest, as outlined below.

Due to the need for social distance of 2 metres, we will not be able to accommodate volunteer driver assistants until further notice.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, please avoid volunteer activities at Second Harvest if you are experiencing the below symptoms:

  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A high temperature
  • A cough and/or sore throat

These symptoms are like other respiratory diseases, including flu and the common cold. The incubation period during which a person has the disease but is not exhibiting symptoms can be between one day and two weeks. It’s possible that the virus can be passed on to others during the incubation period before the person carrying starts to exhibit symptoms.

Please avoid volunteer activities at Second Harvest if you have travelled to the affected areas or been exposed to a case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days:

If you develop:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

within 14 days of travel, please call your health care provider or local public health authority, tell them of your symptoms and where you were travelling.

To protect those around you, wash your hands often and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Toronto Taste 

After careful consideration and bearing in mind the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, we have decided to postpone our signature event, Toronto Taste. We know the impact that this situation is going to have on the hospitality industry, and we thought it best to give everyone a year to regroup, reset.

We will be hosting new fundraisers this year and encourage you to follow us on social @SecondHarvestCA for updates and to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on these special events.

COVID-19 Guidelines

How to avoid getting the Novel Coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Symptoms of COVID-19

Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. It is currently being investigated if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered to be rare.

Symptoms have included:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

If you feel sick

If you feel sick during travel to Canada or upon arrival, inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a Canadian border services officer. They will decide whether you need further medical assessment by a quarantine officer.

If you have travelled abroad and you develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing in the next 14 days:

  • isolate yourself within the home as quickly as possible and
  • call your health care provider or public health authority

Tell them your symptoms and travel history. Let them know whether you have had direct contact with animals or a sick person, especially if they have had symptoms.

We recognize that this situation is evolving and dynamic in nature; therefore, the above directives may change over time. We endeavor to keep you updated as this situation progresses.


Public Health Agency of Canada
World Health Organization
Public Health Ontario
Toronto Public Health
HealthLink BC

If you would like to make a donation to support our ongoing efforts in providing food to those who need it most during this challenging time, please click below.

Donate Today