COVID-19: Toronto food banks and groups fighting food insecurity

As businesses temporarily shutter due to COVID-19, and more still lay off staff both temporarily and permanently, many in the city are facing unexpected financial insecurity.

While government subsidies have been promised, the sudden loss of income for many has resulted in an uncertainty of how next month’s rent will get paid — and where tomorrow’s meals will come from.

Fortunately, several organizations within the city are stepping up to the plate to help alleviate issues of sudden food insecurity facing individuals and families in Toronto.

Here are six such organizations (all of which are accepting donations, if you’re able):

The Stop

The Wychwood community hub has suspended much of its programming, pivoting its focus on emergency access to food for vulnerable and food insecure individuals and families. The Stop will continue to run its food bank on Mondays and Fridays, and will be providing drop-in meals for takeout only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (drop-in meals are ordinarily seated).

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The Stop would prefer monetary donations at this time, as it allows the organization to easily purchase emergency supplies on an as-needed basis. Visit thestop.org.

Community Food Centres Canada

CFCC funds 184 Good Food Organizations and 13 Community Food Centres across the country, all of which serve large communities in which there are individuals living with food insecurity. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, CFCC has set up the Good Food Access Fund, which will help ensure vulnerable individuals maintain access to nutritious food throughout this uncertain time.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Monetary donations are needed. Visit cfccanada.ca.

Second Harvest

The food reclamation charity, which delivered rescued perishable food to hunger-relief organizations across the country, has seen an uptick in need since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result requires assistance in keeping its fleet of 11 trucks on the road. Once again, food items are not being requested, but rather, monetary donations that will assist in the purchase of fuel, maintenance of vehicles, and payment of staff.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Visit secondharvest.ca or foodrescue.ca

Black Creek Community Farm

Since last week, FoodShare and Black Creek Community Farm have partnered to provide emergency relief food boxes — essentially, CSA-style parcels full of fresh fruit and veg — to individuals experiencing unexpected food insecurity. Applications for emergency relief boxes are no longer being accepted, but donations are still needed to facilitate the filling and delivery of the boxes themselves.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Visit blackcreekfarm.ca

Building Roots

Using the Moss Park Market’s Pay it Forward program, Building Roots is hoping to support Moss Park residents who, over the coming weeks and months, may be forced into isolation or suffer a loss of income, resulting in financial insecurity and precariousness. For each $5 donated to the program, a neighbourhood individual or family will receive a fresh fruit or vegetable basket.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Donations can be made in $5 increments, up to any amount. Visit buildingroots.ca

Daily Bread

The food bank stalwart is, as always, accepting donations of non-perishable foods — demand is high, and expected to climb, as economic instability leads to more layoffs and temporary unemployment.

“As a system of last resort, food banks can absorb some of the fallout from economic shocks, but not the sudden and simultaneous business closures, layoffs, and reduced hours that make will lead to a surge in food insecurity,” the organization writes on its website.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Visit dailybread.ca

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