Posts Tagged ‘food drive’

Rockway students Pitch In during 12days

December 12, 2011

Today is day 3 of our 12day campaign! Perhaps you saw the Record article about it over the weekend?  If not, you can find it by clicking here.  It has lots of great suggestions on ways you can pitch in this December and help your community. Their suggestions range from donating some good condition winter clothing, to gifts for children and the gift of food for one of your neighbours struggling with these grim economic times.

Earlier this morning, the gift of food was what Rockway Mennonite Collegiate had in mind. They are a local school with a long history of helping the House of Friendship and local people through a massive food drive each year.  You can read all about it on their own website here, and see the ambitious goals they have set since 2009.  This year was no different and they successfully gathered 24,000 cans of food.  That is about 80 cans per student!

Students line up to drop off donations that they have collected

A long time fixture of the House of Friendship, Mr. Weber (a former board member and long time Christmas Hamper volunteer) was on hand to help pickup the food. Parents who were dropping their kids off (as well as food donations) got into the act and helped students and staff get the food to our waiting trucks.

A Rockway parent gets into the spirit of things and helps get some food to families in need

As you can see, pitching in doesn’t take too much effort, and even a can of beans or a box of pasta can add up to a big difference for someone who needs help this time of year.   This donation will help our Christmas Hamper Program bring a little cheer to Kitchener Waterloo.

Be sure to follow us on twitter (@HOFKW) and Facebook, and to let us know how you are pitching in this December.

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.

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!

Feeding the stars

July 8, 2011

Summer is full of such great weather that it’s hard not to be outside to enjoy it; but at the same time it’s also nice to relax and watch a movie. Well mark your calendar because there’s an event coming up that will allow you the best of both of these worlds. Thanks to the hard work and planning of The Beat Goes On, Princess Twin Cinemas, the city of Waterloo, 105.3 KOOL FM, KFUN 99.5FM, and the Food Bank of Waterloo Region you’ll be able to enjoy both the nice weather and a great movie!

Some of you may already be familiar with the 5th Annual “Music and Movie in the park” event; but for others, here is a little bit more information. This event is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item.  There are three different Thursdays throughout the summer at Waterloo Park when the event will be held. (Click here for directions or suggestions on parking.) So mark your calendars to attend one or all three movies!

Thursday July 21: Rango

Thursday August 4: Gnomeo and Juliet

Thursday August 18: Rio

Movies will begin at dusk, following a musical performance from a local artist. So don’t forget to show up around 7:30 pm to lay down a blanket or set up some chairs in the grass to listen to one of the featured musicians before the movie. For more information, please click here.

It’s a perfect night out, a much better experience than a drive in movie theatre, and a great way to support a family in need. While you make memories with your own family under the star filled summer skies, you can also pass on a helping hand by donating a few canned food items that someone will rely on to make a meal with later on.

Each canned item that is passed on to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region from this event will go towards supporting one of the 25 500 people who receive food assistance throughout the year. To see what’s in high demand right now, please click here. Although keep in mind any food donation is always appreciated. Each item goes a long way to help someone who is struggling to meet one of their basic needs: food.

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…)

Can you DIG it?

April 15, 2011

Our friends at the Food Bank of Waterloo Region have set themselves an ambitious goal this May.  They want to move a mountain of food in one day and they need your help!

Last year they thought they would try something new.  Instead of running a spring food drive over a few weeks, they thought that it would be more exciting and engaging to focus all that effort into a single day.   They set themselves a big goal: collect 150,000 pounds of food in one day.  They rolled up their sleeves, gathered a team of volunteers and got to work.

And what a lot of work it was!   Literally, a mountain of food was collected during one day and then shared with the many community agencies in Kitchener and Waterloo in the months that followed. (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?

In praise of Potatoes!

February 18, 2011

Potatoes are one of the things on everyone’s mind at House of Friendship right now, since we’re in the midst of our annual Potato Blitz. During the various events throughout February House of Friendship hopes to collect enough potatoes or financial contributions to meet the needs of our various programs throughout the year.

So far Allison has covered some of the blitz events and how many potatoes they have collected,  but you may wonder, why are potatoes so important to House of Friendship?  The answer is simple: they are a chance for us to talk to someone about their neighbours who are less fortunate than they are.  Even if it is only for the short period of time it takes them to hand us a 10lb bag of delicious Yukon Gold potatoes, they have been able to put themselves in an other’s shoes, and find a way to help them. (more…)

Food in the news

October 14, 2010

“People don’t understand how much poverty there actually is in KW – if they did it would make a big difference.”

This is what one of our program patrons told us this summer during the survey project that Lucas and Lianna conducted.   It seems like people might be starting to get a better idea, especially if they’re watching or reading the news lately.

Food and food banks tend to be in the news a lot around this time of year as most food banks will kick off their fall food drives around Thanksgiving.   This year there is a little more to talk about.

As I mentioned in a previous post (here) the Put Food on the Budget Challenge was getting a number of local residents to walk a mile (or a week) in the shoes of a low income person trying to get by on an Ontario Works cheque.  After they wrapped up their efforts, Cambridge did the same.  You can find the blog detailing the Cambridge participants experiences here.

A common sentiment among many of the participants of both challenges was that it was harder to get by than they had originally realized.  The lack of energy, the constant preoccupation with food, where to get it and how to stretch it, made it a real challenge to get through the day.

Communities all across the province are doing similar work to try and create some momentum and help create a broader understanding of the issues.  You can find all of the blog and media coverage in one handy spot here.

The food banks of Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge are still collecting food through their food drives to help keep all the programs like us going through the winter.  The need is still great in our community.  This last Friday at our program alone we served 203 families and individuals.  About mid day we also passed the 25,000 food hamper mark this year.  Demand is still strong and the need is still great in our community.

This last weekend, even Premier Dalton McGuinty (in this CBC article) stepped up to encourage people to make a contribution and help out.  Large food banks like the Daily Bread in Toronto (according to their twitter feed) are still falling short of their food drive targets.  This means even leaner hampers in the coming months for hungry people in our communities.