Toronto Miracle sees army of volunteers collect huge amount of food for people in need
Food insecurity has touched the lives of so many Toronto residents over the years, and it's only been made worse by the brutal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — which is precisely why a group of concerned community members set out to collect as many non-perishable food items as possible for the city's very first Toronto Miracle food drive.
The event, organized and executed by an army of thousands of volunteers, took place on Dec. 5 and resulted in more than 140,000 pieces of non-perishable food donated in a single day.
"Toronto Miracle, a city-wide food drive that took place on Dec. 5th, was started by community members who were concerned about the impact COVID-19 was having on our city," Toronto Miracle core team member Jordan Mlynek told blogTO.
"Inspired by similar events held in Chathem-Kent, Windsor-Essex, in the Northwest Territories and in Montreal, we decided to run an event in Toronto that would give everyone an equal opportunity to participate in making a difference in our community. "
Anyone planning to donate to the food drive was asked to pre-register their intended amount online in order to get a sense of what the turnout would be, and they were asked to leave their donation on their front porch on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Then, a crew of more than 2,300 volunteers representing neighbourhoods from every corner of the city went around collecting the donations in their cars, on bike and on foot.
A great day to be part of @toronto_miracle and Team Riverdale! Over 3,300 non-perishable food items collected for @DailyBreadTO and @SecondHarvestCA to help our community food banks! Thanks to all who donated! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/WXKnZ2WUuZ— Jenny do Forno (@jennydoforno) December 5, 2020
"The donations were then directed to either a local social service agency or to one of our food hubs run in partnership with Second Harvest, Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest who will seek to distribute the food across the Toronto social service agency network throughout the holidays," said Mlynek.
And while they initially set a goal of collecting 250,000 non-perishable food items, Mlynek said they're still beyond thrilled to have been able to collect more than 140,000 pieces during the food drive's very first year.
Just spent the morning working for #TorontoMiracle2020.— Jingle Shell Rock ☃️🧣Scarrow (@chocolateyshell) December 5, 2020
2000 food/personal care items donated just by the lovely people of Bloor West Village! Can’t wait to see the citywide totals.
Help warm a few more tummies this winter with @DailyBreadTO ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/rXFtl47fV9
"Toronto stepped up to support this event," she said.
"With only one month in market, we had over 6,000 registered food donations and 2,300 volunteers. Donors gave generously and had fun with decorating their bags, boxes and porches, and volunteers dressed up their cars, engaged their kids and got to connect with their neighbours through this socially distanced food drive."
She added that while some neighbourhoods chose to donate the food directly to a social service agency in their area, the majority of the items were donated to Second Harvest, Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest — organizations that represent more than 350 social service agencies across Toronto.
What better way to end such an amazing initiative, than to see the CN Tower light up with blue to celebrate the success of today's Toronto Miracle. We could not have made this such a success without the support from the Toronto Community.— Toronto Miracle (@toronto_miracle) December 5, 2020
We MADE a miracle. pic.twitter.com/UQxOjYOoiw
Mlynek said she's also aware that some donations were accidentally missed on the day of the food drive, and she's asking anyone whose donation wasn't picked up to consider donating to a local fire hall or grocery store doing their own food drive, or to a nearby social service agency if possible.
"Before COVID-19, food insecurity was already a major issue facing Torontonians, with one in five people finding themselves without adequate access to food. The economic impacts of the pandemic have exacerbated the underlying issues of food insecurity related to poverty," said Mlynek.
"The Who's Hungry Report published by Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest saw first-time food bank use increase by 21 per cent in June and a staggering 51 per cent in August compared to year-over-year survey results. Hunger is a year-round issue and we urge people to remain connected to this issue throughout the year."
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