Daily Bread Food Bank
Our Impact Why We Exist
Like most parents, every Sunday Angela carefully plans out her week to make sure she has time to check homework, make dinner and pack her kids' lunches. But Angela also has to allow time to make it to the local food bank each week so that she has food to put on the dinner table and into those lunch boxes.
This is the reality face by thousands of people in Toronto.
Families, kids, seniors and single adults -- most of whom never dreamed they would visit a food bank -- turn to Daily Bread in their time of need. People rely on food banks for different reasons: loss of job or reduced hours; housing costs; resettlement in Toronto; disability; medical and mental health conditions.
The effects of people going hungry are long term. When people live in poverty and go hungry they are more likely to experience health issues, physical pain, anxiety, and depression. For kids, the effects can be even more extreme. Poverty and hunger are linked to slower growth and development and lower immunity levels. Children's cognitive learning capacity due to a lack of energy and movitvation is also affected. Household food insecurity and diet-related illness disproportionately affect the poor and have enormous social, economic, environmental, and health-related costs.
Toronto is by most measures Canada’s richest city, but access to opportunity is increasingly out of reach for too many. The Region’s gap between the richest 1% and the rest is the second biggest in Canada, and income inequality among Toronto’s households is growing at twice the national average. We now have the dubious distinction of being Canada’s capital of working poverty (moving increasingly into the outer suburbs). Two working parents with two young children each need to earn at least $18.52 an hour to make ends meet. Meanwhile, with “epidemic” levels of child and family poverty in Toronto, the City is developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy
Everyday someone has to make an almost impossible choice: Buy food, or pay the rent? Buy food, or pay for daycare? Buy food, or pay for medicine? Of these hard choices, food is usually the only neogtiable option. Food banks give people a choice. They give mothers a solution for feeding their kids, seniors a solution for safeguarding their health, and others, especially singles, a way to make the rent. Food banks provide a solution for today so that people can begin to build a more solid foundation for tomorrow.
Our Story What We Do
Each week we provide 3,500 fresh meals and 15,000 emergency food hamper boxes to men, women and children across our city.
Annually we serve 90,000 individuals, providing over 22 million dollars worth of food to low income households across Toronto.
Here’s who we served in Toronto in 2014-2015:
- 32% of food bank users were children (and of those users who are children, 16% go hungry at least once per week because of their family’s lack of money).
- 48% were from single-person households
- 38% were university or college graduates, and
- 51% were disabled
Our Programs How We Do It
Our food reaches far and wide, from Rexdale in north Etobicoke to the eastern limits of Scarborough, and dozens of priority neighbourhoods in between. Our day-to-day operations are a remarkable acheivement. We provide more food to support programs for low-inome people than any other organization in Ontario. We partner with the following food programs to ensure that no one is left behind:
- community food programs
- tenant food programs
- prenatal programs
- hostels and shelters
- drop-in centers
- after-school programs for children
- community meals
- school lunches
In addition, we provide training in safe food handling, crisis management and community resources to 400 staff and volunteers run who food programs across the city. We also work with other social service agencies, partners and stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions to hunger and to influence public policy at the municipal and provincial level for poverty reduction.
When I sit down to talk to Roger, he laughs and says, "You picked the right person to talk to about this place." It's just after 11 in the morning and I'm sitting in a church basement in downtown Toronto as dozens of people around us finish thier lunch and a handful of others, wrapped in blankets, sleep against the walls.
Roger is about 45 and lives on the streets. He readily admits he struggles with addictions and bi-polar disorder, and both make it hard to get back on his feet. He's quick to smile and obviously like to laugh - and make others laugh too. He seems to know everyone in the room by name. Not surprisingly - he's a regular fixture at the Church of the Redeemer. He comes a few mornings a week for a hot meal and a place to get warm when winter hits. The meal program has been part of his routine for awhile now.
"you can't do anything until you have a full belly," says Roger. "How can you tackle a the day - find a solution to your problems - if you are hungry?"
But what he gets most out of visiting the meal program is the company of wonderful volunteers, the staff - all the people who know his name and are always happy to see him when he arrives. He uses words like "unselfish and dedicated" to describe the people in the room. "It's not just about food, it's about the emotional support and having a welcoming place to belong and not feel judged."
Roger describes the Church of the Redeemer as a safe place, with a mix of all kinds of people. Despite Roger's challenges and incredibly hard life, he is remarkably upbeat. He tells me that "compassion is there if you look for it."
What You Can Do
Activities a donation will support
For every dollar donated, your are providing one meal to a hungry child or adult.
By supporting Daily Bread, you are addressing someone's most basic need: food. Your support means that more families and individuals in our community have access to food that they may otherwise go without. By providing food to children and people in need, we are enabling them to use their limited resources in other critical areas of their lives.
Thanks to the generous support of volunteers and food donations, for every $5,000 donation we can provide 100 people with food for a whole year.
Every year more than 10,000 people volunteer at Daily Bread. Employee and community groups, schools, families and people all come together to reduce hunger in our city - thank you! For more information on volunteering please email firstname.lastname@example.org.