The City of Ottawa proclaims April 14, 2020 as Food Rescue Day

(Ottawa – April 13, 2020) In recognition of the importance of keeping healthy surplus food from being wasted, Mayor Jim Watson, on behalf of the City of Ottawa, has proclaimed April 14, 2020 to be Food Rescue Day in the City of Ottawa.

The Food Rescue Day proclamation initiative has been led by Parkdale Food Centre, which piloted the online donation platform in Ottawa. Currently, there are more than 70 Ottawa food donors registered on the platform and nearly 40,000 pounds of healthy food have been diverted from becoming waste, going to local food programs instead.

“As the City of Ottawa develops our Waste Master Plan and Climate Change Master Plan, we are looking for innovative approaches from the community to reduce waste and reduce carbon emissions. helps ensure that healthy, surplus food fulfils its purpose to feed our residents, instead of ending up in landfills,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I would like to recognize the efforts made by the Parkdale Food Centre and in striving to help reduce food waste and reach our collective environmental goals, especially at this time when access to healthy food is vital to so many.”

In May 2019 Parkdale Food Centre partnered with Second Harvest to bring to Ottawa. is a free web-based application developed and operated by Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization. This system directly connects food businesses that have surplus, unsold food to local organizations that provide food to people in need.

“Working with has given us a better grasp on how much potential is being lost when good quality food is disposed of rather than eaten,” says Karen Secord, Executive Director, Parkdale Food Centre. “There is so much food in the system that can be turned into nutritious meals and shared in community, and much of what we have been using in our crisis response is food we wouldn’t have without our partners.” is available at no cost to participants. Food businesses register on the platform and upload donation information, which is sent to a geo-specific community of non-profits via email or text. With a click, the non-profit can see what food is available for pick-up, claim it, then pick it up from the donor. Following the April 3 announcement of federal funding to Second Harvest, non-profits can now also apply for emergency support funding of up to $20,000 via the website.

“Food rescue is an important strategy for communities to make sure their most vulnerable populations don’t get left behind in this crisis,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO, Second Harvest. “ is a barrier-free way to bring help and hope, and we are grateful to Parkdale Food Centre for helping to grow this essential service across the region.”

Parkdale Food Centre is also the lead on Cooking for a Cause, which partners with food businesses to provide people with wholesome food outside of the once a month offerings from food banks. Supported by crowd-sourced funds and the Ottawa Community Foundation, these food businesses bake bread, make soup and cook take-home meals that are picked up and delivered to vulnerable people by nurses, community developers, mental health workers, city staff and outreach workers during wellness checks.

About the Parkdale Food Centre:

Parkdale Food Centre is a registered not-for profit charity staffed by a small team of dedicated staff, supported by a large base of energetic volunteers and a network of community partners who share our vision of an Ottawa where everyone has the means and opportunity to live a healthy, connected, and fulfilling life. PFC’s mission is to build healthier, more connected neighbours and neighbourhoods through good food, innovative community partnerships, and by challenging inequalities in order to create lasting impacts. Co-located in the Somerset West Community Health Centre, the Parkdale Food Centre has become an inclusive community hub providing broad services and support to our neighbours in a welcoming supportive environment. In addition to a food bank that provides healthy food to 950 households each month, PFC regular programming includes cooking workshops, social justice workshops for schools, city-wide food recovery coordination, and entrepreneurial training for youth.

About Second Harvest and

Second Harvest is the largest food rescue organization in Canada and a global thought leader on food recovery. Working across the supply chain – from farm to retail – we capture surplus food before it ends up in landfill and has a negative environmental impact. Since 1985, Second Harvest has redirected more than 155 million pounds of food and prevented over 192 million pounds of greenhouse gas equivalents from entering our atmosphere. Supported by hundreds of corporations, foundations, and the community at large, Second Harvest rescues and delivers enough food to provide over 50,000 meals every day, benefiting a growing network of over 1,500 social service organizations across Canada. Second Harvest also developed, a free online platform that directly connects businesses with surplus, unsold food to local organizations to positively impact our environment and ensure good food gets to people who can use it. With the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest is leading the Food Rescue Canadian Alliance (FRCA), that brings together government, private and non-profit sectors to ensure food reaches the most vulnerable members of our communities, from coast-to-coast.

For more information or to schedule an interview:

Erica Braunovan, Ottawa Community Food Partnership Coordinator
Parkdale Food Centre
T: 613-729-0980

Benita Aalto, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Second Harvest
T: 416-209-1391