In February, Second Harvest held the inaugural Food Rescue Awards. It was an opportunity to celebrate all the groups and individuals that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to rescuing surplus edible food in Canada. We received numerous nominations across eight categories and were honoured to award McCain, a long-time partner, with the first Second Harvest Value Award. Their significant food and financial donations and volunteer commitments embody our four core values: community, environment, integrity and collaboration.
McCain started as a food donor in 2005. Two years later, they deepened their commitment to raise funds for Second Harvest’s local programs. The company has always been a steadfast supporter of our vision of No Waste. No Hunger, which aligns with one of their key sustainability pillars: Thriving Communities. In 2021, Second Harvest became McCain’s national charity partner.
McCain continued to make great strides in keeping good food out of landfills in the second year of our national partnership. Together we rescued and delivered 440,686 pounds of surplus edible food to 21 non-profits across Canada between July 2022 and April 2023. That’s the equivalent of 2,284,049 pounds of greenhouse gases averted from entering the atmosphere!
Following the success of Turn the Tables on Hunger in 2022, McCain ran the campaign again this year. It raised $125,000, which will help us provide more than 300,000 meals to people in need! McCain employees supported the Second Harvest annual Hero sweepstakes and raised enough funds to provide an additional 1,400 meals for people experiencing food insecurity.
“The work Second Harvest are doing to combat food insecurity in Canada is truly inspirational,” said Audrey Leduc, Director Planet-Friendly Practices, McCain Foods. “Here at McCain, we are extremely proud of our partnership. We look forward to many more years of helping rescue food and getting it onto the plates of people who need it the most.”
We’re also grateful for McCain’s employee volunteer initiative, Chips-In. This enables every staff member to take a paid day off to volunteer and support the community. During national volunteer week in April, our headquarters was buzzing with activity. We welcomed 78 McCain employees, who spent a total of 156 hours sorting through 10,070 pounds of food for delivery to our non-profit partners. In the coming months, the team will support children and youth across Toronto through our Feeding Our Future program. They’ll pack lunches with sandwiches and snacks and decorate inspiring lunch notes for kids attending summer camps.
“It’s so rewarding to work at a company that prioritizes giving back to the community and volunteering,” said Stephanie Ruggieri, Nutritionist, McCain Foods. “It makes me so proud to work at McCain! Helping those in need energizes me. It has been so fantastic to volunteer with Second Harvest and be a small part of the solution on improving access to healthy, nutritious food in the community.”
It’s been an honour to work with McCain on their commitment towards a thriving community and sustainable planet. We look forward to making a larger impact together in the years to come.
April is a big month for our planet’s health and future.
April 22nd is Earth Day, a growing movement and annual event to help protect and save our planet. This year’s theme is Invest in Our Planet with the message that “we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably).” There are community-led events happening locally around the globe, such as outdoor cleanups at beaches, parks, neighbourhoods, rivers, lakes and so on, and EarthDay.Org–led initiatives to support and participate in.
And, April 26 is Stop Food Waste Day. This is the largest single day of action in the fight to eliminate harmful food waste for good. Stop Food Waste Day aims to educate, inspire, and ignite action against food waste and its big impact on our planet.
Stop Food Waste Day and Earth Day forces combined
How are these two events related? Fifty-eight percent of food produced for Canadians is lost or wastedevery year. Food waste contributes to many of the problems that we face globally today. This includes climate change, hunger, poverty, and the health and sustainability of our oceans, land, air, water, and other natural resources. In fact, food waste and loss contribute 8% of our global greenhouse gas emissions every year.
It is amazing, however, what we can accomplish together when we focus our efforts.
Achieving the impossible when we focus and combine our efforts
For Earth Day, millions of people come together every year to protect, clean up, and improve the health of our planet. And it makes a huge impact! For instance, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted through EarthDay.Org’s Canopy Project. Likewise, there have been 2.7 billion acts of green initiatives and 36 million cleanup volunteers all organized through this annual event.
As you may know, Second Harvest’s vision for Canada is one of no hunger or food waste. We’ve seen first-hand the power of grassroots and community-led initiatives to make a positive, real impact. With the support, donations, and help of so many people, non-profits, and organizations, Second Harvest has rescued 53 million pounds of surplus food in Canada and redistributed it to those in need.
When it comes to protecting and investing in our planet and stopping food waste, there is still so much to be done. But it’s annual celebrations and educational days like Earth Day and Stop Food Waste Day that makes us focus our efforts and get the work done.
Let’s act together to save our planet
Our challenge to you this year is to act. Take charge and help make the change that you want to see in your local community.
Earth Day 2023 initiatives to check out and support:
“Sometimes I have to make a choice – groceries or my medication. In the past I chose groceries, and my disease started growing,” – Joanne, a rescued food recipient at Loyola Arrupe Centre for Seniors.
Across Canada, there are more than 5.8 million people like Joanne who often face a tough choice between buying food and paying for rent, medication and other necessities. Where do you go to when the grocery list is long, but funds are short?
The invisible food network
Beyond food banks and soup kitchens, Canadians are also getting support from schools, senior centres, temples, mosques and other faith-based organizations, where distributing food is not always their main purposes. Together, they make up a massive but invisible patchwork system that distributes $33 billion-worth of food to Canadians facing food insecurity – equivalent to the second-largest grocery store in the country. For every grocery store in Canada, there are 4 charitable organizations that support people with food.
This disjointed network of community organizations faces a multitude of challenges. Second Harvest surveyed more than 1,000 of these organizations in late 2022 and found that they are anticipating a 60% growth in demand in 2023, following unprecedented 134% growth seen in 2022. Seventy percent of these organizations have reported needing a combination of food and financial support to meet this demand.
How do we reach people facing food insecurity across Canada and what can we do to connect them with the perfectly fine food that would otherwise end up in landfills?
Find the answers to these questions in Second Harvest’s research reports Canada’s Invisible Food Networkand Wasted Opportunity. If we understand who is providing food and quantify the amount of surplus edible food produced and wasted by the food industry, we will be in a better position to get it into the hands of those facing food insecurity.
In March, we kicked off a series of five webinars to discuss the key findings from this research, starting with a closer look at the patchwork system of community organizations stepping up to nourish Canadians in need. Our first guest speaker was Jules Montgomery, Coordinator, Drop-in Services at The Neighbourhood Group.
In the upcoming sessions, we will dive into food loss and waste in the food industry and redefine the value of surplus edible food, which has the potential to feed millions of people.
See the full schedule of the webinars here and join us online! We look forward to seeing you there!
In this recipe, by McCormick Gourmet and Chef Juriaan Snellen, this delicious roasted beet recipe brings out the sweetness of the beets with a delicious balsamic glaze, resulting in a perfect blend of sweet and sour flavours.
PREP TIME: 15 min || COOK TIME: 1h 45 min || Serves 12
3 1/2 pounds (1.75 kilograms) assorted small beets, trimmed and cleaned