From Coast to Coast to Coast: No Hunger Need Too Far

by | Jul 4, 2022 | Community, Food Waste, Hunger Relief

In 2021, Second Harvest rescued 41 million pounds of food sent to over 6,400 nonprofit programs across Canada. Together with their support and the generous donations, time, and resources from countless other donors, organizations, volunteers, and staff, we helped rescue enough surplus food to provide Canadians with 110,000 meals every day. That is outstanding local and country-wide hunger relief efforts.

During and since the pandemic, Second Harvest expanded its scope nationally to support regional connections with the help of our Food Rescue App. The app helps link folks who have surplus food to give with those who need it in local communities Canada-wide. In its first year of launch, the app welcomed 5,000 new users and saw 11,000 food donations. Today, anyone from independent grocers to large manufacturers and producers can rescue and donate food, giving it to any nonprofit and community member in need of it locally and nationally. 

In honour of our collective country-wide efforts, here are on-the-ground stories of how food rescue is changing and saving lives from coast to coast to coast. Thank you for your generosity and support. Together, we’re working toward our mission of seeing Canada with No Waste. No Hunger. 

Canada’s Outstanding Hunger Relief and Food Rescue Efforts

Hearing these stories helps shine a light on the crucial work that’s happening regionally across our nation. Millions of Canadians struggle to put food on their table. During COVID, the equivalent population of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba combined were food insecure in Canada. And yet there is so much hope and outstanding efforts taking place everywhere. People are stepping up. In fact, Second Harvest rescued food from over 4,500 food donors and redistributed it to over 3,000 nonprofits in 900 communities across Canada in 2021. By mid-2022, we’re well on track with our annual goal to rescue 42 million pounds of surplus food.

Our work is far from done, but when it comes to food rescue, we’re proud to support such a generous and helpful community. 

Feeding Canadians From Coast to Coast to Coast

Food Rescue and Hunger Relief Efforts From the Atlantic Coast… 

From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest - Atlantic Canada's Hunger Relief Statistics
From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest

“Food is often the first key component to helping individuals. Second Harvest has allowed us the opportunity to expand our client base, to capture the much-needed lower to middle-income families who have been struggling… quite simply, we have not had to turn one person down who is hungry which is huge.” 

—Salvation Army Center for Hope, St. John’s, NL

“This need will not go away after COVID, and programs like this [Surplus Food Rescue Program and the Second Harvest Food Rescue App] are needed to continue to create relationships between those with access to excess food to those organizations that can use it to address food insecurity.” 

—MetroWorks Employment Association, Halifax

“We are so grateful to Second Harvest for making it possible to support so many in PEI during COVID-19. The Adventure Group knows that food security is an essential part to living a physically and mentally healthy life. We have been able to use this opportunity to ease stress and let vulnerable Islanders know they are not alone through this pandemic.”

—The Adventure Group, Prince Edward Island 

“Second Harvest’s support is absolutely critical to our food security efforts in the Tantramar region. We’ve received food gift cards and participated in their surplus food program. Both have allowed us to provide more food to more people. The surplus food program gave us access to beef, fish, and poultry, which are foods more difficult for us to purchase due to cost.” 

—Tantramar School Food Response, New Brunswick
Second Harvest’s Sami Abdurahim was named the 2022 Highway Star of the Year for his dedication and professionalism as lead driver-ambassador, delivering fresh rescued food across Southern Ontario.
Second Harvest’s Sami Abdurahim was named the 2022 Highway Star of the Year for his dedication and professionalism as lead driver-ambassador, delivering fresh rescued food across Southern Ontario. 

To Quebec…

From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest - Quebec's Hunger Relief Statistics
Second Harvest’s 2021 Impact in Quebec

“Our community was hit very hard by COVID but with the help of Second Harvest, we are helping 50 families from our town with a family meal and a big box of groceries every week. From all the families we helped, your support has been life-changing and with your support, we gave the basic needs to some families who struggle to obtain them and we helped kids learn in schools.” 

—Frontline Worker, Centre Lasallien, Montreal, QC 

And Ontario…

From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest - Ontario's Hunger Relief Statistics
Second Harvest’s 2021 Impact in Ontario

“[Second Harvest’s] Harvest Kitchen trays play an integral part of our meal program. We’ve noticed that clients are spending more time engaging with volunteers/staff/other clients. We know that this program helps to promote community, networking, and minimize feelings of isolation and depression.”

The Lighthouse community centre, Toronto, Ontario

“The presence (virtually or at a social distance) of Youth Unlimited’s team is needed more than ever. With the generous support of Second Harvest [and the food rescue app], we are especially pivoting to provide our more than 800 vulnerable youth with food and basic essentials, such as healthcare, protective and hygienic supplies, as well as online social and mental health supports and mentoring.” 

—Youth Unlimited, Toronto, Ontario

From Across the Prairies…

From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest - Manitoba's Hunger Relief Statistics
Second Harvest’s 2021 Impact in Manitoba

“Today we received a great mix of fresh food—mushrooms, avocados, kale, grapes, salads, yogurt, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and more—and we were able to disburse all seven pallets of it to 26 schools in under 90 minutes. Everyone was so grateful to have this food to pass along to our families. Right now, our families are sitting down to meals that were partially supplemented or made entirely out of ingredients this donation provided.” 

—The Winnipeg School District, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Caption: From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest - Canada's Prairies Hunger Relief efforts - supply versus demand of food rescue
From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest 

“Saskatoon Friendship Inn provides food security for vulnerable people by offering nutritious breakfast and lunch meals, 365 days of the year. We are powered by generosity and partnerships, relying on the community to help create a compassionate sense of belonging for our neighbours in need. Support from Second Harvest Canada is helping the Inn adapt our operations, adjust capacity in our dining room, and add a new takeaway meal service to ensure no one is turned away or leaves hungry.”

—Saskatoon Friendship Inn, Saskatchewan
72% more Canadians used food charities during COVID-19. Every food charity across in Canada served more people because of the pandemic.
72% more Canadians used food charities during COVID-19. Every food charity across in Canada served more people because of the pandemic.
Second Harvest’s 2021 Impact in Alberta

“Food to our family is our love language. We use food to have family time around the table. I bake and cook to show my appreciation and love… for my family. We hit hard times and I needed to express my love language more than ever. That’s when Second Harvest and Calgary Family Peer Connections were there to support me and my family.” 

—Calgary Family Peer Connections, Alberta

To Hunger Relief and Food Rescue on the Pacific Coast in British Columbia…

Second Harvest’s 2021 Impact in BC

 “This has been a very humbling experience for many of the staff, with them reporting that some families have literally cried in relief upon receipt of the gift cards, and for those staff who have assisted individuals with the grocery shopping they report individuals being very excited that they are able to purchase items such as a kiwi or mango, things that even pre-COVID they were unable to afford. As an organization, we are working to continue to support our individuals and families and looking at unique ways to ensure food security for them.”

Port Alberni Association for Community Living, British Columbia 

And Up to the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut 

From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest - Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut hunger relief efforts
From Canada’s Invisible Food Network 2021 report by Second Harvest 

“Aklavik is a community of 600 people in the Northwest Territories. Second Harvest has been able to provide this community with rescued surplus food despite being very far north – 833 km north of Whitehorse to be exact! The first plane came in with nine pallets full of food. We fed all of Aklavik for a couple of weeks for sure, if that’s all the food they had, and for some people for a couple of months. It was a lot of food—and good food.” 

—Ehdiitat Gwich’in Council, Aklavik, NT 

“That is FABULOUS news. Mähsi Cho from all our families to yours.” 

—Healthy Families, Healthy Babies, Dawson City, YT (Mahsi Cho is Gwich’in language)

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