No Waste. No Hunger” That is the simple and profound vision statement of Canada’s largest food rescue charity, Second Harvest. In these tough economic times, (i.e., always) it is mind-blowing that we Canadians waste 40% of our food every year, between 27 and 31 billion dollars of food yearly while thousands go hungry every day. Sometimes restaurants order too much food and must get rid of it at the end of the day, or caterers or retailers don’t use everything they have and it gets tossed. Often it is just because the produce in question maybe has a little bruise on it, or a certain vegetable has a strange shape, or the food doesn’t look like it should appear on the cover of Good Housekeeping.Though certain retailers in this country and abroad are making some effort to curb food waste by discounting this produce, it is still a drop in the bucket.
Since 1985, Second Harvest has been rescuing as much of this as possible, and delivering good, fresh produce to peoples in need. In that thirty year span they have rescued 100 million pounds of good food-that’s 22,000 meals a day.Of this, over eight million pounds of fresh food has been donated, picked up and delivered to people in need in Toronto alone.This food is hitting tables and filling hungry bellies, not landfills, thus preventing over fifty million ponds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
Second Harvest does not buy food, most of the donated food that Second Harvest receives is from local retailers, restaurants, manufacturers and caterers. Thanks to the generosity of these suppliers, Second Harvest is able to supply low-income families, seniors and children with fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh and frozen meat, fruit juices, eggs milk and dairy. Here are some of the social service agencies that Second Harvest delivers to.
Which brings us to Hero Day. If you see a bunch of green-masked caped-crusaders around Toronto on Thursday, February the 4th don’t be alarmed; these are volunteers with Second Harvest raising awareness and accepting cash donations to support food rescue. Dubbed “Hero Day,” February 4th will see hundreds of these enthusiastic volunteers spread across the GTA, in subway stations, in local businesses and along the PATH.
“Canadians waste over $31 billion of food yearly, while children, adults and seniors go hungry,” said Debra Lawson, Executive Director, Second Harvest. “On Hero Day, the Toronto community will come together to make a difference in the lives of approximately 265,000 Torontonians experiencing hunger.” This year, almost 150 organizations across the GTA will take part, running fundraisers in their workplaces and schools to raise awareness and donations for those in need. “This is almost a 50 per cent increase from last year and is a testament to the compassionate and generous nature of our community,” continued Lawson. “We hope everyone will join us on February 4 and support the Hero campaign to fight hunger together!”
Here are some other activities that Second Harvest has planned in and around Toronto during February:
TTC Takeover: Second Harvest Heroes will be in select TTC stations on Hero Day from 6:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.and 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. accepting donations for food rescue.
Caplansky’s: Caplansky’s will donate $1 for every Fresser sandwich sold during the month of February.
Salad King: From February 1–7, Salad King will round up all bills. Salad King will also donate all food sales on Hero Day.
Buster’s Sea Cove: Buster’s Sea Cove will donate $2 for every fried haddock on a bun sold on Hero Day.
Signs Restaurant and Bar: Between February 16–20, Signs Restaurant and Bar will donate $1 from each burger and chicken panini sold. Signs will also match the final amount raised.
Chocolate by Wickerhead: On February 4, Chocolate by Wickerhead will sell hot chocolate for $1. All proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest.
Windup: From January 14–February 4, Windup will donate $1 from every brunch dish sold. Windup will also match any additional customer donations.
Fab Concepts: On St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, when you purchase a superhero t-shirt, you can bypass the line at seven of the GTA’s top Irish pubs. T-shirt proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest. Participating restaurants include Brazen Head, Pour House Pub & Kitchen, Pogue Mahone, Murphys Law, Foggy Dew, Watermark, Dominion Pub & Kitchen.
Twist by Roger Mooking: Next time you fly, visit Twist by Roger Mooking in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Chopped Canada judge’s restaurant will donate $1 from the sales of mussels for the entire month of February.
If you are interested in becoming a caped crusader or volunteering with Second Harvest, click here. If you wish to donate food, click here, or wish to donate funds, click here