Letter from our Executive Director: Good Things Growing

At Second Harvest, summer is a busy time for planning and preparing for the fiscal year ahead. Our commitment to meet the ever growing need for food in our city means that our programs and operations must evolve. And we’ve got great initiatives and work underway.

Adding agencies is always a challenge due to the infrastructure costs associated with delivery and management. However, with the generous support of the Geoffrey H. Wood Foundation we have been able to bring three agencies off our waitlist. Further work around routing efficiencies and the establishment of a new pick up program has allowed us to add another 14 agencies, while keeping costs flat. Many of these new agencies allow us to support people around the periphery of Toronto where access to food support and social services are difficult to find. Six of the new agencies added are running after-school drop-in programs for youth, including three from the City of Toronto Enhanced Youth Services’ program.

In order to support the agencies we deliver to, Second Harvest is proud to announce our new Education & Training Program.  The objective of this program is to share resources, build on public training and education around food, and support existing networks within our communities.  Some examples of training we currently offer include: Youth Empowerment Food Safety Training; Community Food Safety Training; Children & Youth Worker Food & Nutrition Training; Community Food Program Basic Training; and sessions on Reducing Food Waste and Understanding Food Labeling. We look forward to continuing to grow and develop this Program in collaboration and partnership with our agencies and other food security organizations.

The most vital part of the equation for Second Harvest is the food we rescue.  We currently rescue one million lbs of food each month from over 400 food businesses, who contribute larger-scale donations on a regular basis. Yet even with our trucks on the road 7 days a week, we continually receive calls with offers of smaller food donations from retailers and food producers that are too small for our fleet to pick up.   So we are thrilled to be launching a new online platform called foodrescue.ca, with a $1.5 million USD commitment from The Walmart Foundation. Foodrescue.ca will allow any size of food donation to be easily rescued by the local community, ensuring that fresh, healthy food will get to those who need it most.  Food businesses will be able to register online and enter details of the excess food they have to offer, along with the location and pickup time. Pre-approved social service organizations will register and be screened by Second Harvest to ensure safe food handling, in order to receive notifications letting them know what food donations are available in their local area. They can then agree online to rescue this food at the time and location the food donor specifies. We are so excited to see the program launch and hope to see it grow to serve many communities across the country.

We are so excited to share these amazing initiatives with you – because it is your support that has made it possible.  With your help we will continue to rescue and deliver nutritious surplus food and deliver it to those who need it most.  Thank you.