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Feed Ontario Impact Report 2020-21

A year of resilience and united strength

A message from our Executive Director

"The story of Ontario's food banks and partners in 2020-21 is a story of resiliency and united strength. We have faced a number of hurdles in the last year, but together, we stand stronger, firm in our conviction that we can end hunger and poverty in Ontario"

Who we are

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From securing fresh and healthy food sources, to driving change through policy research and innovative programming, Feed Ontario unites food banks, industry partners, and local communities in our work to end hunger and poverty.

“Since we have received assistance, we were able to fill our fridge and cupboards with the necessities and did not have to worry about our next meal. This also allowed us to be able to get back on our feet in a non-stressful way.”

Food bank visitor, Community Care of West Niagara

2020-21 in numbers

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pounds of food delivered to food banks across Ontario

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adults, seniors, and children accessed a food bank in Ontario

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visits to a food bank in Ontario

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COVID-19 Emergency Food Boxes distributed

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hunger-relief organizations working together

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invested in innovative local programs and the food bank network

“Barilla is proud to be a Feed Ontario partner because our values align perfectly. Without the stewardship of a network of food banks, like Feed Ontario, our vision of facilitating people's access to food would not be possible. We hope that through our donation to Feed Ontario, we can add a bit of joy and healthy-inspired eating to the lives of Canadians in need"

Naila Bassin, Associate Director of Marketing - Barilla Canada

FeedON: Growing food distribution amidst a pandemic

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With your increased support, our FeedON network has provided adults, seniors, and children across Ontario with tens of millions of nutritious meals this year.

29 Million pounds of nutritious food (that’s as heavy as the Brooklyn Bridge!)

With the increased support of our generous food and financial donors and transportation partners, in 2020-21 Feed Ontario distributed more than 9 million pounds of food through our regular food programming, and an additional 20 million pounds through new COVID-19 response programs. Altogether, we distributed over 29 million pounds of food in 2020-21. That equates to over 24 million meals – an increase of nearly 4 million meals in our regular food programs and 20 million more meals than in 2019-20 across all programs.

This year we continued our commitment to fresh, nutritious food by sourcing quality items that support a balanced diet for people accessing food banks. More than half of the food we distributed through our regular programs was fresh or frozen. This included meat, eggs, dairy, fruit, and vegetables!

Fresh Food Distributed

Food Distributed by Category

Putting Food Distribution Growth in Perspective

Feed Ontario COVID-19 Emergency Food Program

Feed Ontario's COVID-19 Emergency Food Programs

Fresh Food Programs that support local farmers

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servings of Poultry

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Litres of Milk

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servings of Beef

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servings of Pork

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servings of Eggs

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servings of Turkey

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How FeedON Works

Moving food across the province is not an easy feat at the best of times, let alone in a pandemic. However, with the incredible support of our network of partners, volunteers, and food banks we were able to move more than 29 million pounds of nutritious food to every corner of the province throughout an unprecedented year. Here’s how our FeedON network works:

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ACQUIRE

Feed Ontario works with our many agricultural, industry, and retail partners to acquire discounted and donated food, including much-needed milk, eggs, meat, fruit, and vegetables.

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COORDINATE

Food offers are sent to Feed Ontario food banks via our Smarter Needs Allocation Program (SNAP). Food banks submit requests and food is shared equitably based on need, number of people served, and past food allocations.

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TRANSPORT

With the help of Feed Ontario's transportation partners, donated food is transported to food banks in every corner of our vast province.

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RECEIVE

Feed Ontario member food banks in 132 communities across Ontario receive the donated food to share through affiliated food banks, meal programs, and partner organizations.

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SHARE

Dedicated staff and volunteers at 1,200 hunger-relief organizations share the food with more than half a million people facing hunger, who make over 3 million visits annually.

Allocating food to Communities in a SNAP

To facilitate the distribution of food donations quickly and equitably across the province, Feed Ontario uses a custom-built, cloud-based system, Smarter Needs Allocation Program (SNAP). Since SNAP’s launch in 2011, our network's demand has grown and technology has updated, but the system has not and has struggled to keep up.

In 2020-21, Feed Ontario was able to invest in much needed improvements to the SNAP system, significantly increasing the system’s functionality and efficiency. These updates increase response time during the food allocation process so that we can move product faster and ensure food gets to where it’s needed most before spoilage. It also makes it easier for food banks to manage food offers from Feed Ontario so they can spend more time serving clients.

“AMJ Campbell is extremely pleased to be a partner of Feed Ontario.  To be able to assist those in need across our province especially during a pandemic is something the entire AMJ Family is very proud of.  Once we heard we could help store, pack and transport food to the many food banks across Ontario our team jumped on board to help with such a tremendous and worthwhile cause.”

Denis Cordick, Vice President Brand Marketing & Partnerships - AMJ

Feed Possibility: Standing behind Communities

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Your generous support helps feed possibility by investing in food bank training and knowledge sharing and innovative programming for people facing hunger in our communities.

Food Transformation Programs

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Farm to Food

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A unique food transformation program, Farm to Food rescues excess vegetables from farms and turns them into nutritious meals for people facing hunger. Run in Windsor, ON, in partnership with our local food bank, UHC- Hub of Opportunities, and Food Banks Canada, the program serves hunger-relief agencies throughout Ontario. In 2020-21 we continued to work with farms and food producers on this ground-breaking program.

  • 30 Farming and Food Producer Partnerships
  • 265,202lbs of food rescued and transformed
  • 34 food banks received healthy soup
  • 1,156,199 healthy meals distributed across Ontario

 

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One More Bite

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In partnership with Metro Ontario, One More Bite provides food banks in Ontario with the opportunity to receive rescued fresh food from their local Metro-banner grocery stores to distribute to adults and children living with hunger in their communities. In 2020-21, even more stores and food banks joined the program:

  • 28 food banks rescued food
  • 125 stores donated to food banks
  • 2,254,167 lbs. of food rescued

 

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Community Programs

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Feeding Possibility!

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The Feeding Possibility! Grant was created to respond to the needs of food banks to help improve the overall capacity and resiliency of the Feed Ontario network. Projects are tied to Feed Ontario’s Standards of Care Framework, with the aim of helping food banks provide best-in-class service to their communities.

  • 28 food banks applied
  • 23 projects were funded
  • $572,470 invested in food bank capacity and resiliency

Highlighted projects:

  • Creation and implementation of a home delivery program for community members who are unable to access the regular food bank services
  • Building of an online portal with a set of custom education modules to make training available and more accessible to volunteers and hunger-relief agencies

Rural Kids

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The Rural Kids Program provides rural food banks in Ontario with funding to support the children they serve with community-specific programs, such as breakfast clubs, snack packs, or kids cooking classes. The 2020-21 Rural Kids Program helped ensure that children facing hunger still had access to nutritious food, despite increased barriers to receiving food support due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 7 food banks participated
  • 79,141 meals and snacks provided
  • 4,253 kids in rural communities served

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Efficiency Improvement

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To support the growth in demand for emergency food support, in 2020-21 Feed Ontario introduced a one-time grant to help food banks with significant warehousing and distribution invest in developing their inventory management. This investment will help ensure that food can be more efficiently accounted for and distributed to agencies and families facing hunger for years to come.

  • 4 food banks applied
  • 3 projects funded
  • $194,000 invested to improve efficiency

Virtual Conference: Building Resiliency

Feed Ontario quickly re-tooled the planned June 2020 in-person conference, and launched our first-ever virtual conference, "Building Resiliency," in August 2020. Sessions were designed to help grow food banks' resiliency to unforeseen challenges and spark ideas on how to build a better world.

Themes of the conference included:

Adapting Operations: an opportunity to reflect on the rapid operational changes food banks implemented during the spring, share best practices with peers, and brainstorm how to adapt to emerging challenges.

Mental Health & Wellness: Sessions focused on managing burnout, and sharing challenges and advice to address staff, volunteer, and client mental health during the pandemic.

Sparking Change: Food banks have a responsibility to both advocate for a world that doesn't need food banks, as well as ensuring they are not contributing to injustice within their own spheres of influence. Sessions focused on making your food bank voices heard and how racial injustice intersects with poverty and food insecurity.

 

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Growing Resources and Support for food banks in a pandemic

Throughout the last year, the food bank sector has had to rapidly adapt in response to changing restrictions and health guidelines, as well as changes in local food and funding sources. In response, Feed Ontario launched two online training series for member food banks, conducted regular wellness checks with each food bank, helped food banks connect with their local Municipal Services Manager to access government support, and developed hundreds of COVID-19 response resources, including toolkits, guidelines, and best practices on topics from distanced service delivery options, to COVID-19 response plans, and more.

“[The] Past year has been a wild ride with a great deal of unpredictability. Feed Ontario and their network of supporters were the rock we needed during this difficult time. We were able to start two new programs that diversified our services to better service our community during the pandemic. We could not have done this without our incredible partnership with Feed Ontario.”

Chris Peacock, Executive Director - The Sharing Place Food Center (Orillia,ON)

Feed Change: Working together on evidence-based solutions

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With your increased supports, we feed change through research and public education, and advocating on behalf of evidence-based solutions to hunger and poverty.

Hunger Report

Feed Ontario’s annual 2020 Hunger Report found that, while COVID-19 has undeniably impacted our province, food bank use in Ontario was already on the rise even prior to the pandemic. This upward trend was exacerbated by the economic impacts of the pandemic in many communities. Between March and June 2020, food banks saw a surge in usage as hundreds of thousands of people were without the means to acquire sufficient income for basic needs like rent, hydro, transportation, and food.

Findings of the report include:

  • 26% increase in the number of people and families who accessed a food bank for the first time during the first three months of the pandemic
  • 44% increase in the proportion of employed adults accessing a food bank over 4 years
  • 7.3% year over year increase in the number of visits to a food bank in 2019, prior to the pandemic starting

Hunger Action Month

In partnership with Food Banks Canada and local food banks, Hunger Action Month is a Feed Ontario initiative that takes place every September and encourages people to take action against hunger in their communities. Embracing the challenges of the pandemic, communities mobilized in new ways leading to one of the most successful campaigns to date.

Hunger Action Month encourages participants to take action in four key ways:

Educate: Shared Feed Ontario’s Hunger Map to explore statistics on hunger and poverty in communities by electoral riding.

Advocate: Held virtual constituent meetings with Member’s of Provincial Parliament and ran a public campaign sending emails to MPP’s to advocate for rent relief.

Volunteer: Highlighted ways to volunteer and get involved with local food banks during the pandemic

Donate: Raised $140,000 to help end hunger in Ontario

Working with Government on Solutions to End Hunger

Throughout the pandemic, Feed Ontario continued to engage with the provincial government and local communities to ensure our province’s most vulnerable had the support they needed during these challenging times. In 2020-21 we:

  • Met with leaders from all provincial parties to talk about COVID-19 responses
  • Held a virtual town hall with the Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
  • Ran three MPP email campaigns calling for rent relief and an eviction moratorium during the Stay-at-Home order
  • Presented to the Ontario Minister of Finance as part of budget consultations
  • Submitted recommendations for the provincial budget and poverty reduction strategy

“As part of LCBO’s Spirit of Sustainability commitment, our campaigns are rooted in making our province a stronger and more inclusive place to live, which is why we took action to address the food security crisis. It is important to us that our contributions span the entire province and we're so proud to have contributed to Feed Ontario's Emergency Food Box Program to meet the increasing need for food security in Ontario communities"

Meg McClean, Sustainability Specialist, Sustainability & Social Impact - LCBO

Feeding the Future: Hunger doesn't end with a Pandemic

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By working together, our vision to end hunger and poverty in Ontario is possible

Operation Community Regeneration

Over the next year, we will continue to focus on ensuring Ontario’s food banks have the resources they need to help our province recover from the pandemic and thrive. Join us for Operation Community Regeneration! With the support of partners like you, together we will continue to:

FeedON: Replenish

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In partnership with the food industry, we will replenish food bank supplies by growing Feed Ontario’s existing fresh food donation programs; and investing in our new Full Shelves Program to provide food banks with more food staples and PPE. These programs leverage our extensive distribution network to ensure food bank shelves in every corner of the province remain full.

Feed Possibility: Renew

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Building on food banks’ agility, we will continue to invest in resources to help renew communities and food banks, including developing best practices in partnership with Public Health, emergency response plans, training courses, tools for physically distant food delivery, resources to transition to virtual operations where possible, mental health supports, and guidelines as we reopen.

Feed Change: Strengthen Resilience

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By working in partnership with government and communities, we will strengthen our collective resilience through data-driven, evidence-based solutions and policies that provide lasting support to our province’s most vulnerable and ensure that communities are prepared for the future.

A commitment to Northern Ontario

In the coming year, we will begin a five-year Northern Food Strategy to increase equitability in access to nutritious food in Northern Ontario and help address the unique challenges faced in remote, fly-in, and Indigenous communities. Through the strategy, Feed Ontario will work in partnership with food banks, other non-profit groups, and Indigenous leaders and communities to improve our infrastructure and distribution capacity in Northern Ontario, reduce barriers to our services, and increase nutritious food support.

Petrozavodsk, Russia - 16 December 2019. truck on unloading at the hypermarket

"It is a privilege to continue to work with the dedicated team of Feed Ontario who are able to reach thousands of people facing hunger. We hope other companies will also support this critical life-saving work. Now, more than any other time in history, Ontarians must come together to help each other through this pandemic. I know we will, and I know that together, we will power on"

Heather Ferguson, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Ontario Power Generation

Working together, each dollar goes further

Thank you to all of the incredible people and organizations who give their time, products, services, and financial support to Feed Ontario. You make feeding Ontario possible!

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“I know what it is like to be without food. Supporting Feed Ontario is the smallest thing I can do for someone who is always hungry....something I can do to help hungry people survive."

Feed Ontario Monthly Donor

Our partners in fighting hunger

Fresh Food Partners

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Thank you to our Fresh Food Partners for helping us Feed Ontario!

    Financial Partners

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    Thank you to our financial Partners for helping us Feed Ontario!

    Network of Hunger Fighters

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    Staff

    Our small but mighty team is committed to supporting Ontario’s food banks and advocating for solutions to hunger and poverty.

    Siu Mee Cheng

    Interim Executive Director

    416-656-4100 ext. 1002

    Amanda King

    Director, Network & Government Relations

    416-656-4100 ext. 2932

    Rachel Dixon

    Director of Development

    416-656-4100 ext. 2937

    Adelaide Wimpenny

    Manager, Operations & Programs

    416-656-4100 ext. 2934

    Ashley Quan

    Manager, Advocacy & Network Engagement

    416-656-4100 ext. 2938

    Tanya McChesney

    Manager, Finance & Administration

    416-656-4100 ext. 2936

    Erin Waddington

    Partnership Development Manager, Northern Ontario

    807-630-4727 ext.

    Claire Ward‑Beveridge

    Senior Coordinator, Member Relations

    416-656-4100 ext. 2933

    Shanade Thomas

    Operations & Programs Coordinator

    416-656-4100 ext. 2940

    Gargi Saripalli

    Development Officer

    416-656-4100 ext. 1001

    Sonja Kovacev

    Project Manager, Provincial Communications Campaign

    416-656-4100 ext.

    Board of Directors

    Our Board of Directors is comprised of food bank leaders and industry professionals who shape Feed Ontario’s strategic direction.

    Ryan Noble

    Chair

    Executive Director

    North York Harvest

    Nitin Jaitly

    Vice‑Chair

    VP, Project Management Office

    CIBC

    Jyoti Saggar

    Treasurer

    CPA, CA

    Sr. Finance & Accounting Consultant

    Peter Oram

    Corporate Secretary

    Origination Supervisor

    Sollio Agriculture

    Peter Gould

    Board Member

    June Muir

    Board Member

    President & CEO

    Unemployed Help Centre/WEFBA

    JoAnne Sytsma

    Board Member

    Food Bank Manager/Board Co-Chair

    Brockville & Area Food Bank

    Andre Chow-Leong

    Board Member

    Vice President Merchandising

    Loblaw Companies Limited

    Laura Wright

    Board Member

    Director of Marketing

    Visa Canada

    Meghan Nicholls

    Board Member

    CEO

    The Mississauga Food Bank

    Robin Bailey

    Board Member

    Executive Director

    Burlington Food Bank

    Neil Hetherington

    Board Member

    Chief Executive Officer

    Daily Bread Food Bank

    Wayne VanderWees

    Board Member

    Founder

    Freight Managers Inc.

    Dawn Devoe

    Board Member

    General Counsel and Privacy Officer

    World Vision Canada

    Konval Matin

    Board Member