Community & Current Events

How you can help your local food bank

Photography by Ryan Brook Image by: Photography by Ryan Brook Author: Canadian Living

Community & Current Events

How you can help your local food bank

Why donating matters
Of those helped in 2014, 37 percent were children and youth, five percent of adults were over the age of 65 and 48 percent of households also received social assistance.

Feed the need
Every little bit helps, even canned soups and macaroni and cheese, which are particularly useful for those who live in rooming houses and don’t have cooking facilities, says Gail Nyberg, executive director of Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank. “If you’re a single male, a box of macaroni and cheese or a can of stew is nutritious and filling. It’s hard to make a homemade version on a hotplate.”

If donating items from your pantry, you can contribute foods close to their best-before dates (the cutoff for guaranteed freshness and flavour), but items past their expiry dates won’t be accepted. It’s also important to ensure that any packaging seals are intact.

Money goes a long way
Cash donations enable food banks to purchase perishable items such as milk, eggs and meat and to augment food donations. “Financial donations make sure that hampers have all the components of a good meal,” says Gail Nyberg of the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Giving your time
A few hours can make a difference. Here are three easy ways to help out:

Host a food drive with a community group or coworkers.

Take part in a public food sort. Many organizations hold holiday food drives to stock their shelves for the winter months. Volunteers help sort donations and repackage bulk-food items. Children as young as eight may also be able to take part; check with your local organization for age restrictions.

Plant an extra row of vegetables in your garden this spring and donate the harvest to your local food bank.

What to donate to your local food bank
1. Peanut butter
2. Canned fruits and vegetables
3. Dried pasta
4. Tomato sauce
5. Lentils and beans
6. Powdered, canned or Tetra Pak milk
7. Baby formula and baby food
8. Canned fish and meat 9. Canned soup and hearty stew
10. Macaroni and cheese

Learn how 14-year-old Sarah Johnson founded Sarah's Food Drive to raise funds and food for the homeless of Toronto.

This story was originally titled "Give Wisely" in the January 2015 issue.

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How you can help your local food bank

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