Building a Legacy of Impact: A Conversation with The Daniels Corporation

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Food Waste, Hunger Relief

Second Harvest is celebrating The Daniels Corporation and its 25 years as the Presenting Sponsor of Toronto Taste. Toronto Taste is Toronto’s premier culinary event, hosted for 30 years by Second Harvest with 50 participating renowned chefs, restaurants, and beverage purveyors. This year’s event is taking place on June 12, 2022, at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. All proceeds go to supporting food rescue and hunger relief. Join us at Toronto Taste

The partnership between Second Harvest and Daniels began in 1991. Together, the organizations’ combined efforts have helped to rescue and redistribute over 5.5 million pounds of surplus edible food. This helped avert over 20 million pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.  

As a special tribute to their monumental support, we had the pleasure of speaking with partner, Don Pugh. Don joined Daniels the same year that the organization began supporting Second Harvest and the first-ever year of Toronto Taste. Here’s our conversation. 

A Conversation with Don Pugh, Partner at The Daniels Corporation

The Daniels Corporation is one of Canada’s largest preeminent builders and developers. It was founded in 1983 by John H. Daniels, Chairman Emeritus. Since the beginning, their passion for making a positive social impact translates into supporting many organizations in the GTA, including those that help the city’s most vulnerable communities.  

Q: Why did Daniels extend their support to include Second Harvest—now Canada’s leading food rescue organization—all those years ago? 

“As a company that builds homes and supports communities, we believe that everyone has the right to a roof over their head and food on their plates,” said Mr. Pugh. “We’re committed to providing affordable and accessible housing and helping those in need by providing food security, so it was a natural fit for our organization to partner with Second Harvest.”

“We’re very fortunate at Daniels to have a top-down understanding of our commitment to social impact. It’s never a question of should we do this, but how. How do we support these organizations and help to make an impact? It comes from our founder and Chairman Emeritus Mr. Daniels and Mitchell Cohen, our President and CEO, who built our relationship with Second Harvest in the early days.”

“There is a natural synergy between Daniels and Second Harvest that has always existed in a shared vision to make a positive social impact within our communities. We believe in giving back, and we believe in equality.”

Q: How do you make a positive impact on hunger relief? 

“Support in any fashion is necessary—whether you’re a presenting sponsor of Taste Toronto or doing what you can by volunteering, donating, attending events or giving back in any way you are able to. A decade ago, when Second Harvest was first expanding its location, I commented on how sad it was that Second Harvest needed to grow. It’s not even as relevant as it was 25 to 30 years ago—it’s more relevant today. Not only is food insecurity not going away, but it’s growing.”

“We support Second Harvest for hunger relief, but also the notions of rescuing surplus food and diminishing waste that aligns with our sustainability goals. The immediacy of that and Second Harvest’s ability to react and move quickly are dynamic, which we appreciate as a dynamic company.”

How Daniels and Second Harvest’s 30-year Partnership Tackles Hunger

Daniels’ impact and support for Second Harvest have been tremendous, to say the least. Support spans from being the Presenting Sponsor of Toronto Taste for 25 years to helping build a major extension warehouse, helping to purchase delivery trucks, donating time and resources, and volunteering at countless events. All of it adds up to making a huge impact. 

Q: What opportunities to get involved has the partnership presented? 

“One of the opportunities is that, over the years, we have introduced colleagues in our industry to Second Harvest and we’ve seen a number of them step up and support Toronto Taste by attending the event as well as becoming sponsors themselves.”

“Partnering with Second Harvest has also allowed us to engage with the Daniels team and support other Turkey Drive Days, where our team members get dressed up as turkeys, Lunch Money Day, Hero Days, or getting out on the truck, which I’ve had the personal opportunity to do. There have been many different ways that we can engage with Second Harvest and it’s given us the opportunity to share that relationship with every tier of our organization. Like when we helped with the expansion of their space, our construction guys got to roll up their sleeves and help.” 

Q: Can you recall a particularly memorable experience with Second Harvest over the years?

“Helping build a major extension of Second Harvest’s warehouse in 2009 is certainly a memorable experience for me. But the day that I participated in a ride along with a Second Harvest driver was by far the most memorable. You go out with the driver, starting early in the morning, and drop food off at Second Harvest’s agency partners. It’s an eye-opening and emotional experience. You see the real impact of your support on the ground. Once you’ve seen that, it stays with you forever.”

Here’s to the next 30 years of partnership and tackling hunger and food waste together!

“Yes—in whatever way, shape, or form it takes. Count us in.”

Thank you to Don Pugh for speaking with us and for your support. Thank you to the Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Daniels and Mrs. Daniels, President and CEO Mitchell Cohen, and the entire team at Daniels for your outstanding support over the decades. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

Join us at this year’s Toronto Taste on June 12, 2022

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