After a decade of rescuing delicious unsold food from Toronto’s infamous St. Lawrence Market and delivering it to local shelters, Second Harvest volunteers Una Tsang and Tracy Tse are hanging up their aprons.

Tracy and Una were part of the St. Lawrence Market Food Rescue team. This group of volunteers visit St. Lawrence Market every Saturday to rescue excess food from a dozen vendors before the market closes for three days. They recover mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, but also cheese, fresh bread, fish, bones for soup and prepared foods like pizza and pasta—all to be delivered to social service organizations in the downtown Toronto core.

We connected with Tracy and Una to talk about what drew them to volunteer with Second Harvest through the St. Lawrence Market Food Rescue team and continue their dedicated support for a decade. Here’s what they said. 

St. Lawrence Market Food Rescue: Making a life by what we give

St Lawrence Market food rescue team

What impact has volunteering had on your life?

“It is my pleasure to have the time, energy and a car to contribute a few hours for this meaningful work. In fact, thank you to Second Harvest for allowing us to do so. The best reply is to quote Winston Churchill: ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’”

It’s given me a different perspective on food and a constant reminder that we all have to work as a team to move forward.”
– Una

Why did you choose to volunteer with Second Harvest and the St Lawrence Market Food Rescue team?

“I chose Second Harvest because it is one of the best ways to rescue quality, excess food and when we re-distribute all the goodies to families in need, it builds up our community fabric.”
– Tracy

“Volunteers like me are rewarded by meeting grateful ‘customers’: the person who donates is happy that food in which they have placed so much care is not going to waste and the receivers are grateful that they can have the food they might otherwise need to buy.”
– Una

What will you remember most about your days volunteering with the St Lawrence Market Food Rescue team?

“Appreciation for the food warms our hearts beyond words.”
– Tracy

“The best day for me is to see pounds and pounds of bread that the baker doesn’t want being received by the women’s shelter that has just run out of bread. Or, on a deep winter snowy day when the shelter meets you with a big smile that melts your heart.”
– Una

What advice do you have for Second Harvest volunteers to come?

“Your efforts are never wasted. It’s good for your soul and good for your community.”

A huge thank you to Tracy and Una for generously putting so much time and energy toward making sure that good food stays on plates—and out of landfills

Updated September 2020
Originally appeared: December 3, 2019

St Lawrence Market food rescue team

Creative ways to repurpose food packaging and reduce waste

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Lessons from Korea’s food waste policies

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