In the spirit of the holiday season, it seemed appropriate to highlight a charitible organization that is making a difference to many in the Toronto area on a year-round basis. Second Harvest was founded in 1986, and is dedicated to ensuring that fresh food from GTA grocery stores and restaurants does not go to waste. Using six refrigerated trucks, the organization picks up high-quality fresh food and produce on a daily basis and delivers it within hours to over 230 community centres, shelters, breakfast programs, and drop-in centres across the city.
Second Harvest distinguishes itself from food banks in that it collects perishable foods, such as meat, milk, and vegetables. Its efforts help provide 13,000 meals each day to children, the elderly, women who are fleeing abuse, and the homeless.
In addition to its main program, Second Harvest undertook two other initiatives that are making a difference in Toronto. The Feeding Our Future program began in 1999, supplying lunches to inner-city children who were otherwise unable to attend free summer camps because their families could not afford to send a lunch along with them. Harvest Kitchens was launced in 2001 in four Toronto facilities, where unemployed individuals were trained in food preparation with the aim of giving them valuable skills to help them find jobs. The refrigerated trucks deliver raw food from donors to the kitchens, where folks are trained under the supervision of food service professionals.