30 Years Later - Food Rescue Provides Crucial Service to Toronto

It all started in 1985, when two local women, Ina Andre and Joan Clayton, simply saw a problem and chose to do something about it.

The 1980’s saw a rise in the awareness of global hunger and the introduction of food banks in Canada. While raising funds for international hunger relief, Ina and Joan were asked – what about people who are hungry right here in Toronto? They recognized there was indeed a rising hunger problem in their own city and at the same time, they saw perfectly good surplus food at local restaurants and grocery stores being thrown away.
Ina and Joan decided to approach those restaurants and grocery stores and asked if they would donate that food to local food banks and shelters. Local businesses were quick to jump onboard this common-sense approach to hunger relief.
Together, Ina and Joan would drive around the city picking up food in their hatchbacks and delivering it to social service agencies to feed hungry people. And so, Second Harvest began with two volunteers, and a handful of food donors and social service agencies.
After 30 years of rescuing food, Second Harvest plays a crucial role in the health of our city. If not for our program, tens of thousands of people would go hungry in Toronto each day. We see how important our food deliveries are when we pull up to the doors of our agency partners.
Agency staff and volunteers are so grateful, expressing many thanks, in return for Second Harvest deliveries, because without them, they couldn’t serve healthy meals to their clients. Kids in breakfast programs rely on the milk, cereal and fruits they receive so they can concentrate in school. Parents visiting food banks rely on staples like potatoes and lettuce to bring home to their families. Homeless teens and adults rely on the hot, nutritious meals that help prepare them for harsh elements. So many of our neighbours face unimaginable struggles, and dealing with those challenges starts with a nutritious meal.
To feed tens of thousands of people each day and effectively run our food rescue program we need three things to come together – food, funds and time. If not for our dedicated supporters, food donors, financial donors and volunteers, we could not provide this crucial service to our city’s most vulnerable.
Thanks to supporters like you we recently marked a historical milestone. We rescued and delivered our 100 millionth pound of food. That means, together, we’ve delivered 100 million meals since 1985! That is a massive, humbling accomplishment. As impressive as that is, we know there is more food out there to be rescued and we still have a waiting list of social service agencies.
Thank you for sharing our vision: No Waste. No Hunger.
As long as there is surplus food and hungry people, there will be a need for food rescue. We hope you will continue to make hunger relief through food rescue a priority issue over the next thirty years.