Public awareness of food waste is currently at an all-time high. Every day seems to bring news of entrepreneurs, researchers and experts who are talking about wasted food and food rescue. All of this attention makes Second Harvest's Executive Director Debra Lawson hopeful that awareness will translate to action.
What can't be used by Second Harvest's own agency network is shared with a growing network of like-minded food organizations from Halton, Durham, Peel, and Waterloo, all the way to Hamilton and Montreal. Dispersing these surplus potatoes to organizations and people in need has created stronger reciprocal and peripheral partnerships.
In 2015, Ontario saw a 35% jump in the number of senior citizens visiting food banks. It's a trend Second Harvest sees daily on its delivery routes. Last year, 70% of Second Harvest's agency partners noted that they serve seniors. Some agency partners, like Loyola Arrupe Centre for Seniors (LACS), are built specifically around servicing the needs of this growing and vulnerable population.
Every day, Second Harvest delivers a portion of donated fresh and frozen food to its four Harvest Kitchens partners around the city. During a 17-week training session, students prepare over 20,000 meals for people in need across Toronto. These meals are delivered to agencies lacking kitchen facilities. Outreach workers and volunteers also deliver a number of these balanced meals to those who are unable or reluctant to go to agencies because of physical or mental challenges.