This September, the bustling breakfast tables, carefully packed lunch boxes, and after-school snack sessions that so many Canadians associate with back-to-school season are becoming impossible for an increasing number of Ontarians. With a 42% increase in visits to food banks over the last three years, and a 64% increase in first-time visitors to food banks since 2019, food insecurity is knocking on the doors of more and more Ontario homes.
As people across the province come together during Hunger Action Month to help feed their neighbours through food drives, fundraising events, and awareness initiatives, squeezing every possible ounce of collective good from these efforts has never been more critical. While every donation of food, money, or time is a valuable contribution, Ontarians are eager to find ways to maximize the impact of their support. Feed Ontario, an organization founded to end food insecurity and poverty by uniting over 1,200 of the province’s food banks and hunger-relief organizations, helps its donors do just that.
Each year, the Feed Ontario network serves more than 600,000 Ontarians in need. Last year alone, 4.3 million visits to food banks were supported by the work Feed Ontario does. Read on to learn just five of the many ways that supporting Feed Ontario will help stretch the impact of your hunger-relief donations this fall.
Stretch Your Support Strategy
#1: Give To An Organization That Makes Your Donation Go Further
Anyone who has visited a grocery store lately knows that one dollar doesn’t buy a whole lot these days. Thanks to a vast partner network, bulk purchasing power, and innovative initiatives like the One More Bite Program that helps redirect nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste, Feed Ontario is able to stretch every one dollar donated to provide two meals to someone in need.
#2: Put Fresh Foods On The Tables Of Those In Need
In addition to the canned and packaged foods that are more commonly donated to food banks, Feed Ontario has a diverse network of provincial partnerships to facilitate donations of farm-fresh products like Ontario milk, eggs, poultry, and more. Feed Ontario partners with major agricultural and farming groups, like Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Beef Farmers of Ontario, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, and Egg Farmers of Ontario, to provide healthy, fresh food to food banks and hunger-relief organizations across the province.
#3: Offer Support That Goes Beyond The Food Bank
Last year, Feed Ontario distributed over 7.3 million pounds of food, and those donations extended far beyond local food banks. With a network of over 1,200 community-based organizations, Feed Ontario also helps support breakfast clubs, meal programs and community food centres. The Farm To Food Program is just one of Feed Ontario’s creative approaches to sharing food donations more broadly across Ontario communities. This innovative program, run in partnership with UHC-Hub of Opportunities, rescues surplus produce from local farms. Then, a team working under the watchful eye of a Red Seal Chef turns farm donations into healthy, nutritious meals that get distributed to hunger-relief agencies across Ontario.
#4:Shift Toward Bigger-Picture Giving
While Ontario’s food insecurity crisis impacts the entire province, the degree to which individual communities and neighbourhoods suffer varies. Feed Ontario uses smart algorithms to allocate its food based on the number of people served, food bank capacity, and recent food deliveries to ensure donations go to where they are most needed across the province.
Innovative programs like Feed Collaboration also encourage the sharing of resources between Feed Ontario agencies to help them become stronger together. This local-first program leverages capacity and skills at local, regional, and provincial levels to ensure donations fulfill local needs first. Then, any additional resources get directed to other Ontario communities in need, ensuring nothing goes to waste.
#5: Tap Into Donor Tools That Make It Easy To Right-Size Support To Your Budget, Time, and Giving Goals
Ontarians looking for the most impactful ways to help their community during Hunger Action Month have a broad range of options when it comes to joining in the fight to Feed Ontario. A variety of tools available on the Feed Ontario website can help people fight hunger in the way that is most meaningful to them, including:
- An online tool to make a one-time or monthly financial donation
- A fact sheet for Ontario farmers who would like to receive a tax credit for food donations from their farm
- A fundraising toolkit that makes it easy to organize an individual or team fundraiser to help community food banks across the province
- A ‘Hunger In My Riding’ calculator that generates a custom report about community-specific food bank use and poverty that can be easily downloaded and shared with the appropriate Member of Provincial Parliament
- A one-click email tool to generate a pre-written or personalized postcard to help communicate the negative impact that social assistance clawbacks are having on Ontarians to local MPPs
- A Find-a-Food Bank tool to locate the closest Feed Ontario member food bank or hunger-relief organization and donate food, time or money
- The option to receive email updates from Feed Ontario to stay informed about Ontario’s food insecurity crisis