Once again, COVID has created another summer of uncertainty for children who would normally be taking part in summer camps – and, more pressingly, who would normally have access to the lunches that camps provide. With some camps paused because of COVID precautions, kids living with food insecurity in Toronto’s high-priority neighbourhoods are facing summer hunger. But happily, for a second summer, Second Harvest’s Feeding Our Future program is responding to the need.
Meeting the need
The kids and summer programs served by Second Harvest’s Feeding Our Future program live in communities the City of Toronto designates “Neighborhood Improvement Areas” and which are highlighted by their need for supports to improve social, economic, and physical conditions. Our community partners are concentrated in eastern areas such as Scarborough and Malvern; in the west Toronto neighbourhoods of Weston King and Jane/Finch; and in downtown communities like Moss Park and Regent Park.
Working with 31 social service agencies, Second Harvest is working to fill the hunger gap with Feeding Our Future family wellness kits, assembled with teams of volunteers and with the support of generous donors like presenting sponsor Cadillac Fairview, as well as The Otto and Marie Pick Foundation and the AIR MILES® Rewards Program.
The family wellness kits contain fresh fruits and veggies, a grain (like tortillas, pita or baguette) and a protein (like hummus, tuna or yogurt), plus drinks and snacks like granola bars and fruit cups. Games and activities and even a link to a child-focused yoga class sponsored by Cadillac Fairview, and a pass to the zoo round out the kits, making them a fun boost each week of the summer. Our agency partners distribute the kits to their community members, and we anticipate providing more than 13,000 kits to approximately 2,000 children and youth, which will have an impact on 1,500 families.
Strong support from day one
Feeding our Future has had strong support from its earliest beginnings 20 years ago when it was started by Sodexo and then adopted by Second Harvest as a permanent part of our mission. Along the way, we have had significant support from George Weston Ltd and Weston Foods, and President’s Choice Children’s Charity. Feeding Our Future has also benefitted from donors like Sofina, as well as support from Kitchen 24 in preparing lunches and meal kits, and Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation, who donated a new van that we use to distribute meals for Feeding Our Future and our Harvest Kitchen program.
We are grateful to be building on the strong foundation provided by these generous donors and we welcome Cadillac Fairview as our partner as we enter our third decade of Feeding Our Future.
“Caring for our communities is an important part of our culture at Cadillac Fairview,” says Misha Lobo, Senior Manager, Brand, at Cadillac Fairview. “As lead sponsor of the Feeding Our Futures program, we’re proud to help Second Harvest combat food insecurity by providing families with healthy nutritious food throughout the summer months.”