HOPE IN NUMBERS: 4.2M Canadians Fed With 41M lbs of Surplus Food

by | Dec 10, 2021 | Hunger Relief

This past year has been one full of hope, generosity, and community. The generous support of Second Harvest’s donors who share in our dual mission of hunger relief and waste reduction in communities across the country was absolutely outstanding. Second Harvest’s 2021 Annual Report has just been released and here is a look back at the impact you helped us achieve. 

Read Second Harvest’s Annual Report

What’s most incredible is how much we can accomplish when we work together to feed our country. From food donors, delivery truck drivers, farmers, grocers, and volunteers to financial donors, governments, voters, and consumers, we all play a role in helping Canadians in need and protecting our environment.

Highlights From Second Harvest’s 2021 Annual Report

Thanks to the generous support of our donors and Canadians who helped rescue and divert surplus food to those in need, here is the impact we were able to make on hunger relief and reducing food waste on the environment. 

Hunger Relief: Helping Feed Over 4.2 million Canadians This Year

Impact highlights from Second Harvest's 2021 Impact Report
Caption: Highlights from Second Harvest’s 2021 Impact Report

Second Harvest was able to support over 4.2 million Canadians in accessing food at over 3,000 social service organizations. This rescued food, that would have otherwise gone to the landfill, provided an average of 110,000 meals across the country every day.

The impact of COVID is still being felt, especially by families on low incomes and those Canadians who found themselves unemployed at the onset of COVID-19. People who never had to rely on community food programs before started reaching out to their local non-profits, spurring the demand for fresh and healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, and proteins. 

For example, as a partner of the Surplus Food Rescue Program, Second Harvest received over 9 million pounds of fresh surplus food like eggs, salmon, chicken, and fresh produce donated from businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic. This food was delivered to over 350 local communities, from PEI to BC, and made into nourishing meals to support hunger relief. 

Environmental Impact: Diverting 41 Million Pounds of Food From Landfills

Nearly 60% of food produced in Canada is lost and wasted annually, including 11.2 million metric tons that is edible and potentially rescuable, and it’s Second Harvest’s mission to increase the amount of food we recover every year. In fiscal 2021, Second Harvest rescued 41 million pounds of food – a whopping $120 million worth of deliciously healthy surplus food that was diverted from being lost to landfills. 

Keeping edible food out of landfills meant that food did not decompose and release greenhouse gases. Food rescue averted the release of 162 million pounds of greenhouse gases – this is the environmental footprint equivalent of taking more than 22,650 cars off of the road for a year. It also prevented the waste of the 22.5 billion litres of water equivalent necessary to grow and produce that food.  

By diverting surplus food to feed those in need, we’ve prevented needless waste and catastrophic environmental damage at every step along the food chain. And we are determined to do more.

hope in numbers 2021 impact report

Partners in Our Mission: No Waste. No Hunger. 

This was all possible because of our incredible partnerships. Second Harvest has over 20,000 committed individuals, foundations, and corporate donors who are partners in our mission for Canada of no waste and no hunger. 

Second Harvest is blessed with over 4,500 generous food donors, including Sobeys Inc., Conagra Brands, Costco, Mondelez International, and Loblaw Companies, as well as financial donors, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, The Sprott Foundation, The Weston Family Foundation, The Walmart Foundation, and The Nikita Foundation, to name a few.

Likewise, the Emergency Food Security Fund project allowed Second Harvest to provide emergency food support funding of over $8.4 million to 563 communities, or 1,385 organizations, dedicated to feeding Canadians in need.

“To each of you who have become a part of our Second Harvest community over this past year, and to those who have been loyal partners to us for many years, we absolutely could not have done this without you,” wrote CEO Lori Nikkel in Second Harvest’s annual report. “Consider us the facilitators: through your funding, food and other in-kind donations, you made this possible. We thank you and look forward to forging even stronger relationships in the coming year.”

Second Harvest 2021 Annual Impact Report

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