Since March, the City of Toronto has been working with a variety of community partners to ensure that Toronto’s food programs stay open during the pandemic and continue to support Toronto’s vulnerable populations. Members of the Food Security Table – which consists of City staff and representatives from Daily Bread Food Bank, FoodShare, North York Harvest Food Bank, Second Harvest, Red Cross, Toronto Public Library, Salvation Army and the United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) – continue to meet regularly to discuss food access gaps in the community and how they can be filled.
Food for Kids – more than 2 million meals provided through grocery cards
The City is working with student nutrition program partners to support the Food for Kids program, which sends grocery gift cards to families of children in need who attend school in Toronto and were previously enrolled in the program. To date, Food for Kids has mailed out 69,335 grocery cards to families with children in need, which represents 2,080,050 meals.
Food Hampers – more than 12,000 hampers for seniors
Since activated on April 7, the food hamper program administered by the Red Cross, has delivered a total of 7,997 hampers to 2,373 residents unable to leave their homes. It is projected that some 12,000 hampers will be delivered by the end of June.
Prepared Meals – around 148,000 meals prepared so far
Through the City’s partnership with Second Harvest and UWGT, and their partnership with MLSE, nearly 130,000 meals were prepared and distributed to a total of 67 agencies between April 20 and June 5. With funding from UWGT, Hawthorne Training Kitchen prepared and distributed 18,000 meals to 10 agencies between April 27 and June 5.
Donation Matching – $1.9 million in food-related donations matched to community partners
City staff continue to match food-related donations and offers to community partners and agencies. The City has leveraged more than $1.9 million in donations to support 192 community organizations. Another $505,000 was distributed to 18 community partners.
Temporary Food Banks
Nine of the 11 temporary food banks located at Toronto Public Library (TPL) branches have been successfully relocated so TPL can begin their curbside drop-off and pick-up service. Temporary food banks will continue to operate at two TPL branches with adjusted hours. The majority of the temporary food banks have been relocated to other sites in the neighbourhoods that were formally served by the TPL branches. Two new sites were also opened at YMCA locations in these areas, and temporary food banks at three City arenas continue to operate.
“Helping vulnerable residents meet their basic needs throughout this pandemic continues to be a priority as we reopen the city. We have worked with not-for-profit organizations and many private sector companies to make sure residents in need, including families and seniors, have access to food. There has been a tremendous amount of work behind-the-scenes to organize these efforts and I want to thank City staff and the many partners that have come together over the past few months to help those who need it most.”
– Mayor John Tory
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