Written by Lucy Furneaux, The Stop’s Director of Development and Communications
This morning, one of my colleagues came to my office. Her ask was simple: I need you to get me donations for the food bank before Friday.
I’ve been working at The Stop for a little over 7 months, and she’s never made this request of me – usually, we have enough coming in from other organizations, from our own purchasing, or from community food drives to tide us through. But the food bank is bustling; between September 2022 and August 2023, we saw a 52% increase in new food bank memberships. That’s more and more families each month being pushed to access emergency support from us.
And then this Monday, for the first time ever, we had to turn people away and ask them to come back later in the week. Our food bank usually is open until 2pm: we ran out of stock by 1:15pm.
West Toronto community: we need your help. Money is always the most helpful thing you can donate because it means we can be reactive, but right now we need to stock our food bank, and fast.
Food in Need
We’re seeking donations of the following items ASAP:
Long grain parboiled rice, white rice, and brown rice (bigger bags are ideal so we can split into portions)
Dry kidney beans
Dry black beans
Please ensure that all donations are in date, unopened, and without damage.
Food can be dropped off at 1884 Davenport Road, Tuesday or Thursday between 10 AM -3 PM at the back of the building. If you drive north of Davenport on Symington, the road will take you around the back to our food bank drop-off area.
Non-perishable food bank donations can also be dropped off at The Stop’s Indoor Farmers Market at Wychwood Barns, locatedat 601 Christie Street in Barn 4, every Saturday from 8am-1pm. Please look for The Stop’s info booth where we will be accepting donations or ask a market volunteer to help guide you.
View the full list of items that wealwaysneed, here.
Why is this happening?
I don’t need to tell you that hunger is on the rise; if you’ve read the news, visited the store, or seen our newsletter, you’ll know that the cost of living is spiraling.
We’re seeing terrifying increases in people needing our support. I hate to use that word – terrifying – but what else can you use to describe the doubling of children accessing our foodbank in just 12 months, or the rising numbers of people in paid work who simply can’t make ends meet. Something is fundamentally wrong, and no-one is treating it like the emergency it is.
Earlier this year, we wrote about why now more than ever we’re seeing spikes in the need for food. During the pandemic, the government provided cash support for people in need – now, without these schemes and with food inflation not relenting, more and more people are pushed to the brink of destitution. Food banks like us simply cannot keep up with the increases, and we don’t want to have to turn another person away – but without adequate change, it looks like we probably will. It’s devastating.
If you think you can make more sustained donations to The Stop to keep feeding our community through the year, we encourage you to get involved. Typically we receive more food drives and donations during the winter, but consistent support helps us to plan better and deliver a dignified and frequent service for our neighbours. Donations of money are always extremely welcome, because we can then purchase and distribute items that we have less of.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you can provide support, either financially or through physical donations of food. We thank you so much for anything you can contribute.