Posts Tagged ‘donations’

Let’s share the warmth

December 2, 2011

As snowflakes will soon begin falling down from the sky we’ll all soon become more accustomed to cuddling up under a blanket, perhaps with a warm beverage and some good company to talk to. Well in the spirit of enjoying everything possible from a warm cup of tea, let’s think about how you can spread that joy throughout Canada. Let’s share the warmth!

By this, I’m not referring to the coat drive program that just wrapped up at Salvation Army. Instead sharing the warmth is about giving the gift of tea – and all it takes is one simple click of your computer mouse.

Red Rose Tea Company has launched a campaign for consumers to donate a pot of tea to a registered Canadian charity. Here are some examples of the charities that are awaiting your support:

And as I said before, all it takes is one simple click of your computer mouse. Currently more than 10 000 pots of tea have been donated to these charities! Please click here to make your pot of tea go farther.

What is your morning routine?  I know a lot of people who start their morning with a warm cup of coffee or tea.  I always marvel at the people snaking around the drive through windows at any restaurant that sells coffee.  It’s one of the little things that makes life a little more pleasant, and can be a source of comfort when life is stressful.

It is also important for people to share. In our culture and many others, offering a guest a cup of tea or coffee is a natural and expected part of welcoming someone to your home. Our driver, Salvador, will often share stories of people he has delivered food to, who ask him to share a cup of tea with them because he is the only person they will talk to that week. So, as Red Rose says: “Canadians are known for their warmth of spirit and their love of tea…let’s prove it!” So please take a few minutes to share your love of tea with others from coast to coast.

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Can you ever have too much rice?

November 7, 2011

Feed a dream

Before we know it the sky will fill with lovely snow flakes and the days will become colder here in Ontario. While there are many opportunities to get outside in the winter and stay fit, many people tend to spend a little more time indoors.  So what can you do, while your inside, staying warm and counting the days until it’s spring time?

Well I’m here to tell you about a fun and educational way to spend some of your spare time – especially if your household includes some school age children who want to test and expand their knowledge. To see what I’m talking about, click here.  It’s an online game with a twist.  Instead of getting points and being able to boast about your high score, each correct answer makes a little difference to someone somewhere in the world, ten grains of rice at a time.

Isn’t this great? For each correct answer you make to questions in a wide variety of subjects a little bit of rice will be donated to the World Food Program. It may seem like such a small amount but it all adds up and it’s free!  This is all thanks to the group who created FreeRice, a non-profit website now run by the United Nations World Food Programme.

But how can a non-profit website buy enough rice to donate 10 grains for each question you answer right? All the rice that you win through the game is paid for by sponsors whose advertisement banners will appear at the bottom of the screen when you enter a question correctly. Each of these sponsors also supports the goals of promoting learning or free education for everyone, and reducing hunger throughout the world.

FreeRice tries to provide more rice to countries that typically include this as a staple item in their diet. On average these countries typically receive approximately 400 grams of rice person, per day (for families, including children and adults). Generally the goal of each donation is to provide people with two meals, with the assumption they’ll also include other local ingredients, in the aim to achieve 2100 kilocalories of daily nutrition. 

By answering 600 questions correctly you donate one serving (according to Canada’s Food Guide) of a ½ cup of rice to someone in need. Although it seems like a lot of questions, you’ll rack of the number of grains you donate quickly!

If you are a part of a service club, or church, or have a circle of friends who like to do things together, you can all register as a group and compete with other groups and track the total amount of donations you have generated.

“Making the world a better place starts with food. Food fuels education. Food fuels free choice. Food fuels economic independence. Food fuels peace.” (Source)

So by playing the game you are helping do something about hunger in the world, but what about hunger in our community?  Currently rice is the fourth most needed food donation at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. So please consider spending a few minutes to answer a couple of questions and the next time you are at the grocery store think of your neighbours in need and make a donation to the bin by the check out. (Click here to read one of our previous blog posts on what our patrons think about rice).

And in the end think of all the people who will be able to enjoy a meal or rice because of your efforts to test your knowledge.

There’s something missing

October 4, 2011

Every time you go to the grocery store there is an abundance of possibilities that you can take home. But unfortunately for over 20 000 people throughout the year their grocery trips are limited, because they’re accessing a food bank.

Food banks generally operate almost exclusively on donations – donations of time, money and food. As a result, it’s not uncommon for programs such as ours to experience a few weeks or months without certain food items such as canned soup, cereal, rice, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned meat, or canned beans. At the moment, three very significant products are on the top ten lists of most needed food donations. Any idea what they are? If not, click here to find the answer.

Unfortunately three of our four protein products are on the top of the list: canned meat and fish, peanut butter, and canned beans. This has dramatic implications on the overall nutrition of our hamper; and also how many meals patrons can make out of the food we have to offer. You may remember how important food items like canned meat are to our patrons; but if not click here.

Luckily the Food Bank of Waterloo Region has been getting in higher amounts of frozen meat products. This means that our program has been able to slightly increase our quotas since the beginning of August. Here’s an idea of how our quotas have changed:

Family Size

Previous Meat Quotas

Current Meat Quotas

One person

500 g

750 g

Two people

1 kg

1.5 kg

Three people

1.5 kg

2 kg

Four people

2 kg

2.5 kg

Though it’s a minimal amount, it has an impressive impact. For example single people generally got one choice of meat such as a bag of sausages or a few chicken breasts in the past. Now a single person meat pre-pack will include two choices of meat products or a larger chunk of meat. But let’s look at the nutritional implications of raising our meat quotas:

Family Size

Increases of servings

One person

2 servings (1 day)

Two people

4 servings (1 day)

Three people

4 servings (almost 1 day)

Four people

4 servings (half a day)

To read more about meat and alternative nutrition, please visit Canada’s Food Guide.

For many people more frozen meat in their food hamper is a welcome change! One of the things that we learned through the work of Jesse and Leah, our two summer students, is that many patrons would purchase more meat or seafood products if they had more money available. However, because of the increasing costs of fresh or frozen meat products, many individuals often use lentils or canned meat as the best alternative to still get protein in their diet.

But with our supplies running out and many people not having the flexibility in their budget to buy a can of beans, a jar of peanut butter, or a can of meat, what do they do? Sadly it often means that many people will be without that food group in their diet for a few days.

Going without canned beans or canned meat and fish has a smaller nutritional impact on our hampers, but it does interfere with meal planning. Now instead of many people being able to throw one of these choices into a casserole, they’re left scrambling to find another alternative to get meat in their diet and complete their meal. Both a can of beans and a can of meat or fish contain approximately a full days worth of meat nutrition for a single person. It’s easy to see how quickly the nutrition of a hamper can diminish without these necessary staples.

Not having peanut butter available also decreases a hampers ability to provide a good level of nutrition for meat and alternatives. It takes two tablespoons of peanut butter to provide one serving of meat and alternatives. For a single person who likely needs approximately two servings of meat for the entire day, a 500 gram jar provides about seven days worth of protein. Larger families typically receive a one kilogram jar of peanut butter. To break this down it means that two person hampers lose approximately seven days of protein; three person hampers lose approximately four and a half days of protein, and four person hampers miss out on approximately three days of protein. Without this staple food, many people are left without anything to eat on a sandwich for lunch or to spread on some celery for an afternoon snack. Click here to read about the significance of peanut butter to our patrons.

What do you eat for lunch each day?  Imagine opening your bag lunch and only having two slices of bread with some mustard and lettuce between them.

You can change this though! Please keep these food items, and any other that you typically enjoy in mind during the fall food drive. Each donation makes a meal and brightens someone’s day – sometimes more than you can imagine. Whether it’s a box of cereal or crackers, a can of pasta sauce, or a drinking box it’ll make someone’s life one measure easier. Each food item they receive is  one step closer to a healthier diet, or one less explanation to a child for why it’s not on their dinner plate. And as our recent blogs show, not having food is only one of the many situations that our patrons are encountering throughout their day.

A big kick off to the fall

September 26, 2011

Have you seen this poster recently? What about the donation bins located near the check-out at many grocery stores within the region? Well this is the time of year when they are extremely important to places like the House of Friendship because the Food Bank of Waterloo Region will soon kick off their annual Fall Food Drive!

Yes it’s that time of year again. Though the Food Bank is fortunate to collect many donations each week from local grocery stores, the big shelves at their warehouse are getting empty. Just last Wednesday, my co-worker Raymond was touring their warehouse and mentioned that there were starting to be more empty spaces than full. As a result the Fall Food Drive is kicking off on October 3rd, and running until October 16th. At this time of year programs like ours hope that enough food will be collected to cover the demands placed on the Food Bank over the coming months. How much food is needed? What are we hoping to see? Click here to see the top ten most needed items.

How can you help? Over the coming weeks the Food Bank will be participating in a variety of events that you can have fun attending and help out by donating a few non-perishable products. Please visit their website for more information, but here’s a brief overview to help you mark your calendar:

All of these events are always a lot of fun, and they are a great way to help the Food Bank and our  regional friends (Cambridge Self Help, Woolwich Community Services, Wilmot Family Resource Centre) reach their 375 000 pound target goal for donations. Bringing even one can of food or bag of pasta or rice to each event means you are helping to put a meal together for over 25 500 people who will receive food from food hamper programs in the coming year. From all of us at House of Friendship and the many other food banks throughout the region, thank you in advance for all your generous donations!

Bikes for tykes

July 14, 2011

The House of Friendship can only exist with the support and assistance of a multitude of volunteers.  If you are a regular reader of our blog, you have met many of them so far, but today I wanted to introduce someone who volunteers in a different way.  His name is Gerald.

A few years ago Gerald called me up and pitched an idea to distribute refurbished children’s bikes at the Emergency Food Hamper Program.  Gerald has a bike shop at 725 King Street North in Waterloo and is a strong believer in everyone doing a little bit to make the world a better place. (more…)

Sharing the rewards

June 30, 2011

Many grocery stores are trying to find ways to reward their shoppers by purchasing food from their stores. For some this means offering incredible sales on essential or staple food items in their weekly flyer; and for others it means offering a points reward system.

Some of you may be familiar with the Sobey’s reward card, but for others here’s a little introduction. The “Club Sobey’s” card offers customers an opportunity to collect points for every whole dollar spent in a Sobey’s grocery store when they swipe their card at the check out. Extra points are awarded to specific items, which are often promoted in their flyer. The card has no initial sign up cost or annual fees. The points collected can be converted into Aeroplan miles; food related rewards on the online catalogue; or saved up to redeem free grocery items. If you’re interested in collecting these rewards, click here to apply online, sign up in stores, or call 1-877-7SOBEYS (1-877-776-2397).

But why is this important? How is this related to the work that we do?

Club Sobeys members have the opportunity to donate the points they earn on their Club Sobey’s card to a charitable organization or food bank program. People have the options to choose between the following agencies:

–         Boys and Girls Club

–         Daily Bread Food Bank

–         Second Harvest

–         Toonies for Tummies c/o The Grocery Foundation

–         Ontario Association of Food Banks

–         The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

Many of these agencies deal with providing food to low-income households or programs that will provide assistance to those in need. The other piece to these programs is that they aim to provide services that will assist in providing a healthy lifestyle development. Please click on the above names to learn more about the organization, if you’re interested. If you’re interested in donating your points, please click here. Your points will make a significant difference in your community and to a family in need.

The side of potatoes you haven’t seen… and the rising cost of food

May 20, 2011

Annually House of Friendship utilizes well over 220 000 pounds of potatoes within all of our programs. Therefore a successful Potato Blitz campaign is important for many different programs, patrons and services. You may remember some of the stories Allison shared from various events of the Potato Blitz back in February, but don’t worry – I’m not here to repeat those. Instead I’m going to shine a new light on potatoes. We’ve talked about the nutrition of potatoes and how valuable potatoes are to the diets of our patrons, but we haven’t talked about the cost of potatoes. The cost of potatoes has a significant impact on the fundraising efforts of our Potato Blitz drive each February – and thus provides a glimpse at the side of potatoes we haven’t shown you yet! (more…)

A Night Out to Remember

April 27, 2011

Everyone has a lot of commitments throughout the day, so when it comes to dinner time it can be difficult to find enough energy to make a meal for you and/or your family. Eating out isn’t always an affordable option, but today it can be a charitable one!

Tonight you can choose to dine out and support the work of the Aids Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo and Area (ACCKWA). This organization has been in existence for approximately 25 years and responds to the needs of those who are affected by HIV/AIDS in various ways. Anyone can go for anonymous HIV testing, learn more about disease prevention, access the safe needle exchange program, and many other services.  You can check out the many services they provide by looking at their website here. (more…)

Fun and food are right around the corner

April 19, 2011

Having enough money for the holidays is tough. Sometimes no matter how hard you budget, there just isn’t enough money to fill every expense. You’ll always be left with unfulfilled needs because something set you back financially and you just can’t catch up…Unfortunately this is a depressing reality for many of the patrons that we serve day-to-day.

Annually House of Friendship provides food assistance for one of the many holidays in the year: Christmas (which you can read more about here). But now as the calendar has turned, we are approaching the end of April and the celebration of Easter. (more…)

You can help NOURISH people in need!

March 30, 2011

Have you seen this product in the news lately? Campbell’s has been making headlines with some new ideas in eating and charitable giving. If you haven’t heard about the new soup I encourage you to nourish your mind by clicking here.  It’s worth the click.  We can wait.

One reason this soup has yet to come to grocery stores is because Campbell’s has focused production of the first 100 000 cans to donate to Food Banks Canada. Then following this generosity Campbell’s is planning to follow-up with a donation towards disaster relief efforts in Haiti.

But why is this new soup such a big deal? Well not only does their pop-top designs make it easy for anyone (in any place) to open the can, but it’s nutritious! Each 425 gram can provides a complete meal with a full serving of protein, vegetables, and grains, based on recommendations by Canada’s Food Guide,. Two other benefits of this soup are that it can be eaten hot or cold, and doesn’t require any addition of water before enjoying.  This is a major plus if you’re on the street, just had your hydro shut off or living in a disaster area with no fresh water.

Could it get any better?  Yes! Although Campbell’s has already committed to donating 100 000 cans to Food Banks Canada, they are willing to do more. However Campbell’s is looking for your support to do that! There are two ways you can show your support to accomplish this:

  • Visit their Facebook page. On there if you post a comment; like the page or video posted; watch the 2 minute video; or share the video on your own facebook page then Campbell’s will reciprocate by donating one can to Food Banks Canada.
  • Post a comment on Twitter (hashtag #Nourish) for Campbell’s to donate a can.

Campbell’s is hoping the community responds so they can donate another 100 000 cans before Hunger Awareness Day on May 31, 2011. We’re hoping that you can take a few minutes to help them reach this goal. Soup is shelf-stable food item that many food banks rely on to distribute in their food hampers. Although it’s not on the Food Bank’s top ten most needed food items, it’s still an important item to continually donate.

Have you taken a second to click and share a can of soup with a neighbour in need?