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30 Stories

 

To help commemorate The Mississauga Food Bank’s 30th Anniversary, we have been documenting stories of hunger and hope in our community. Over the past month, we have visited several of our 52 member agencies and asked clients to share their experiences with us. The story of a food bank client, volunteer or supporter will be posted every day this month.

All photos and stories will be shared through social media and on our blog.

Last year, our hungry neighbours visited neighbourhood food banks 80,151 times and made an additional 87,779 visits to our meal, snack and breakfast programs. Make a donation today to help bring hope into their lives.

#30stories

 

Mississauga families are struggling to make ends meet; one in five food bank users received help for the first time this year.

The Face of Hunger 2014Mississauga, Sept. 23, 2014 –There are hungry people in every corner of the city, and The Mississauga Food Bank needs the community’s help to provide them with enough nutritious food this Thanksgiving.

The Mississauga Food Bank launched its Annual Thanksgiving Drive yesterday with a goal of collecting 100,000 pounds of food and raising $75,000 by Oct. 17. The food bank has also released its second annual report on hunger in the city – The Face of Hunger in Mississauga.

The report tells that one in five food bank visitors received help for the first time this year, and more than 70% of users have been living in Canada for more than three years. Food bank staff hope this information will break stereotypes that food bank users take advantage of the system and are mostly recent immigrants.

“It’s important to remember that the people who use food banks in Mississauga are our neighbours,” says Chris Hatch, Executive Director of The Mississauga Food Bank. “When you donate food or money to The Mississauga Food Bank, you’re supporting your own community, your neighbours, maybe your friends, family members or coworkers.”

Food bank staff and volunteers will be out at neighbourhood grocery stores collecting food and cash donations on Friday, Oct. 10 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Look for them at Loblaws (Mavis/Britannia-Heartland); Real Canadian Superstore (Argentia/Winston Churchill); Real Canadian Superstore (Mavis/Dundas); Loblaws (Glen Erin/Eglinton), and Metro (Southdown/Lakeshore). Food can also be donated year-round at any Mississauga fire station.

Read or download a copy of The Face of Hunger in Mississauga on our website.

To donate to The Mississauga Food Bank online, visit donate.themississaugafoodbank.org.

About The Mississauga Food Bank

The Mississauga Food Bank serves the entire city of Mississauga. Through its network of member agencies – including neighbourhood food banks, hot meal programs and breakfast clubs – The Mississauga Food Bank distributes food for over 209,000 meals each month.

– 30 –

Media Contact:

Meghan Nicholls
meghan@themississaugafoodbank.org | 905-270-5589 x226

Here is our list of the top ways you can support the food bank this Holiday!

1. Attend our Open House – tonight! From 5:00-8:00pm, you’re welcome to drop in for a warm drink and a cookie or two, and get a behind-the-scenes tour of food bank operations! Families are very welcome, and there won’t be any cost or solicitation. Get all the details here. (Can’t come tonight? Don’t worry, we’ll have another tour in February and each month after that.)

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2. Make a financial donation. The food bank is an organization FOR the community, supported BY the community. In fact, 95% of our financial income comes from generous members of the community, with only 5% coming from the regional government. Remember, for every $2 you give, we can distribute food for 5 wholesome meals. And you’ll receive a 2016 tax receipt right away if you donate online. Twas the Bite

     Donate Online Today

3. Donate food. 85% of the 1.5 million pounds of food we give out every year is donated. And it takes all of us to make sure there’s enough! So check out our most needed items (and ‘not needed’ items) and drop off some food to your local fire station or to us here at the food bank. Involving your kids is a great way to teach them about giving back!

 

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4. Organize a food drive. Events of all sizes play an important part in raising awareness about hunger in Mississauga and providing the food we need to feed our hungry neighbours. Maybe even make it a friendly competition between colleagues, departments or classes! We have tools to help you (like posters and collection boxes) and a staff person (Mike) dedicated to making your event a success! All the information is available here on our website.

 

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5. Organize a fundraiser. In the same way as making a donation ensures we can distribute all that food, fundraisers are a great way to work together with others to raise even more! Fundraisers are limited only by your imagination – garage sales, scavenger hunts, charity dinners…almost anything! Feel free to use your own ideas, or take a look at some of ours. Mike is available to help you with these too. All the information is available here on our website.

 

Streetsville Santa Breakfast Cheque Presentation

 

 

6. Fundraise Online. My Own Fundraiser allows you to set up your own fundraising page, and send emails to your network inviting them to make a donation – then watch as you move up the thermometer towards your fundraising goal! It’s SO easy – and it can be used for almost anything! You can participate in a race. Organize a bake sale. Fundraise on behalf of a loved one. Invite friends to donate in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts. There are so many ways to ensure no one goes hungry! Get started with your own fundraiser today.

 

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7. Spread the Word. Some people don’t know that there’s hunger in our city. So learn a little bit more about the face of hunger in Mississauga, and tell someone else what you learned. It takes all of us to feed our hungry neighbours – so spread the word! Face of Hunger 2016

 

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AquaGrow FarmsAs the need for food banks continues to rise, The Mississauga Food Bank continues our commitment to sourcing the healthiest, most nutritious food possible for our thousands of monthly visitors.

To meet this increasing demand, the food bank has launched its newest program as a creative method of sourcing fresh protein and produce. With the inauguration of this project, we are the first food bank in Canada to open an aquaponics farm!

AquaGrow Farms will produce approximately 645 servings of fish and over 10,000 servings of greens each year. All of the fish and greens will be distributed to member agencies across Mississauga. From there they will be given to hungry members of the community who otherwise would have limited access to fresh, healthy food.

“We are committed to providing our clients with access to healthy and fresh food. We are proud to launch AquaGrow Farms to draw attention the need for fresh food by those who live in poverty”, said Executive Director, Chris Hatch. “By opening this farm, we hope to inspire others to get involved in finding creative solutions to fight hunger in our communities.”

At November 23rd’s ribbon-cutting, we were pleased to welcome representatives from:

  • our funder – Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • MPP Damerla’s office
  • the vendor and training company who has been so instrumental to our launch – Nelson + Pade
  • Donors, volunteers, and other community stakeholders joined us to hear more about this innovative project.

YOU Can Get Involved By:

  • Donating healthy food items to food drives, ensuring nutritious options for our hungry neighbours
  • Giving financial donations to help The Mississauga Food Bank purchase and source additional healthy foods
  • Come for a visit! We hold interactive, educational tours every 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:00pm. Please RSVP to Colin Cotton at colin@themississaugafoodbank.org or 905-270-5589 x231. If you are interested in bringing a school, corporate or community group for a tour at another time, please contact Colin to arrange a date and time. We even have a specialized tour just for kids!
  • Volunteering: Please visit our Volunteer Calendar to register for any posted AquaGrow Farms volunteer opportunities.
  • Stay up-to-date at themississaugafoodbank.org/aquagrow

Every few months, we have the opportunity to share what’s happening at The Mississauga Food Bank in a newsletter that is sent to supporters all over our community.

This season’s newsletter features:

  • a special message from Executive Director Chris Hatch
  • the story of Jen, a local mom who found hope for her young family through the food bank
  • details about our Holiday Hope Boxes and how you can join the Holiday Food and Fundraising Drive!

Please take a few moments to read the full newsletter here.

We also want to say a special thank you to our #HolidayDrive sponsors for their generous support:

Nissan Canada Foundation

Just Energy

Give Hope for the Holidays

 

For many in our community, the holiday season brings the anticipation of bountiful meals shared with friends, family and loved ones. But for others, this simply is not a reality. While the number of our hungry neighbours does not increase during the holiday season, it feels even more painful to be hungry during this festive time.

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Now you’re probably asking yourself what goes into a Hope Box, and the answer is really simple.

When you give just $11, you are making it possible to provide 1 neighbour with about a week’s worth of food. The items an individual may receive from their neighbourhood food bank may look something like the picture to the right.

What are the typical items that actually go IN a Hope Box?

  • Fresh food – fruit, vegetables, dairy products, meat, 1L of milk, eggs
  • Pantry staples – 1 box of cold cereal, 2 snacks, 2 cans of vegetables, 2 cans/jars of fruit, 1 soup or stew, 1 can of fish or meat, 1 small bag of pasta, 1 jar of pasta sauce, 2 cans of beans, 1 peanut butter or jam, 2 small bags of rice, 1 condiment,1 box of mac and cheese, 2 packs of cookies, 1 pack of tea bags/coffee/hot chocolate, 1 pack of crackers
  • Personal Care & Household – 2 personal care items (shampoo, hygiene, etc.), 1 cleaning supplies/household item, and 2 rolls of toilet paper

We can provide all this food thanks to the generosity of our food donors – it’s pretty amazing for $11!

When you provide a Hope Box, your gift is more than just nutritious food, it’s a demonstration of hope. So this holiday season we are asking you to partner with us to #shareholidayhope by proving one or more #HolidayHopeBoxes to feed your hungry neighbours!

This holiday season we are asking you to partner with us to #shareholidayhope by proving one or more #HolidayHopeBoxes to feed your hungry neighbours!

It’s simple. Click here to give a Hope Box today.

St Marys Streetsville

Our driver and driver’s assistant dropping off food to St. Mary’s Food Bank – Streetsville at 6277 Mississauga Rd N.

Did you know that one of the greatest hindrances to people who need to access a food bank is travel time/cost?

At The Mississauga Food Bank we are always trying to break down the barriers that prevent people from accessing the food that they need. To do this, we work with food banks, pantries, snack/meal programs and breakfast clubs all over Mississauga. These member agencies play a key role in making it possible to combat hunger in the city.

So, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the newest agency in our network, St. Mary’s Food Bank – Streetsville! This food bank will be serving clients in the postal codes L5M and L5N. The clients in these postal codes were previously going to St. Mary’s Food Bank – Coopers, but we found the travel distance was creating too much of a barrier to them accessing the food they need.

Our solution to this problem was to support St. Mary’s Food Bank to launch their new Streetsville location. We are excited to see them ramp up their operations as more and more clients are redirected to this new location. With a food bank closer to home, our hope is that clients who did not go to any food bank before could start accessing their services.

Right now, this new food bank has a stable roster of volunteers, and food for the people they are serving. We couldn’t be more thrilled about this new partnership and are excited to see how St. Mary’s – Streetsville impacts the community around them! So far, the new food bank is serving approximately 20 households (80 people) a month!

Visit our food bank finder tool to find the neighbourhood food bank closest to you.

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We are regularly inspired by the number of those within our community who want to be a part of the solution for those who are hungry. Today is no exception.

Usually, every $2 The Mississauga Food Bank receives allows us to provide food for 5 meals to hungry children, families and seniors in our community. But right now, we have a special opportunity for you to make your contributions go twice as far! Thanks to the contribution of a generous donor, the first $10,000 that is raised before November 6th will be matched dollar by dollar. That means every $2 you give will allow us to provide 10 meals to people in need! OR in other words,  your gift today – of any amount – will automatically double and provide twice the number of meals to families in need!

If you would like to be a part of this special initiative through your donation today, please click here to give!
Thank you again for fighting hunger and feeding hope!

This year, we started the 2016 Annual Thanksgiving Campaign with the goal of raising $100,000 and 200,000 lbs of food for our hungry neighbours. Over the course of the campaign, we have been continually overwhelmed with the support and generosity of our community!

Therefore, we are thrilled to announce that your hard work and dedication has brought in a grand total of $123,531 and 219,975 lbs of food!!

20161017_1658320We would like to take a moment to acknowledge those who played a major part in raising awareness for this campaign.

A huge thank you Mayor Bonnie Crombie for issuing the #onebagchallenge and tirelessly encouraging members of the community to #setthetable for our neighbours.

Thanks to Tim Hortons Mississauga for participating as our campaign sponsor and to the local businesses who either donated, collected food donations or allowed us to conduct the #GroceryStoreBlitz.

To the elementary and secondary schools that participated in the #SchoolChallenge and the Fire Stations that acted as collection sites, thank you.

To the numerous individual and corporate groups of volunteers that spent hours sorting food in our warehouse, thank you.

But mostly, thank you Mississauga for your willingness to take action on behalf of the members of your community who are living in poverty. Thanks to you, food for 573,858 meals will be provided to those in need.

We couldn’t be more thankful.

Special Thanks to our Campaign Sponsors!

Tim Hortons Mississauga Logo Rabba-Fine-Foods-Colour-Logo-300x102
COBS MBOT-logo  Bell_Blue_Lg

Thanksgiving

October 11

What a weekend! We took a break from the daily updates to focus on the #GroceryStoreBlitz, #FamilyThanksgivingCelebration and of course to spend some time being #thankful.

Over the weekend you gave/collected 38,660 lbs of food. That brings us into the final week our our #ThanksgivingCampaign with 117,105 lbs of food towards our goal. We’re still waiting on our final tally from all of the coins that were donated, but we’ll have our donation total soon!

With Friday October 14th quickly approaching, we look forward to seeing how many more people respond to the #onebagchallenge and how many choose make a donation to help their hungry neighbours!

We are so #thankful for you all. Stay tuned for more updates.

October 7

Another awesome day at the Food Bank!

Your efforts and generosity brought us up to $80,056 and 78,445 lbs of food today! There is ONE WEEK left in the campaign and we’re kicking off the #GroceryStoreBlitz tomorrow! Stay tuned for updates.

You can still sign up for weekend volunteer slots by clicking here.

October 6

What a day we had yesterday!

Thanks to so many generous friends who are helping to #SetTheTable for the hungry neighbours. We are now at $75,101 and 67,075 lbs of food.

We can’t wait to see all your generosity this weekend at the grocery stores and our Family Thanksgiving Celebration.

October 5

Fall is in the air! The leaves are changing colour, Thanksgiving is less than a week away and The Mississauga Food Bank is bustling with activity! Here’s some information on how our Thanksgiving Campaign is shaping up.

Donations

We are 9 short days away from the end of our Thanksgiving Campaign and we are so thankful for everyone who has contributed so far. As of October 4, you have raised $47,112 and 53,000 lbs of food to feed hungry members of your community!

We still hope to raise $100,000 and 200,000 pounds of food by October 14, and we can’t do it without your help!

You can donate online today by clicking here.

To give food, please drop it off at your local grocery store, fire station or our warehouse. Have you taken the #OneBagChallenge yet?

Volunteer Opportunities

This weekend our volunteers will be out in full force!  On Saturday and Sunday, there will be groups of volunteers collecting donations in local grocery stores for the #GroceryStoreBlitz. There will also be volunteers helping with food pickups and deliveries all weekend and providing support for the Family Thanksgiving Celebration on Saturday.

We still have volunteer spots available! If you’d like to participate, please click here to register.

Once again, thank you to everyone has already given time, food or donations! We’re excited to spend this weekend with our volunteers and neighbours being #thankful.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for. But for many in Mississauga, this is hard to do when they can barely put food on their table. Our Thanksgiving Campaign kicked off on September 19 and, so far,  you’ve raised 27, 965 pounds of food and $22, 674 for your hungry neighbours! Thank you for your generosity, our campaign is off to a fantastic start.

To meet the needs of hungry people and their families in Mississauga, we need your help to raise $100,000 and 200,000 pounds of food by October 14. There are plenty of ways to get involved and take action. Here’s how you can help ‘Set the Table’ for our neighbours this Thanksgiving:

1. Donate Funds

Just $2 provides food for 5 meals! Click here to make a donation online.

2. Take the #OneBagChallenge

OneBagChallenge

From Mayor Bonnie Crombie to MPP Charles Sousa, people across Mississauga are taking the #OneBagChallenge! So can you. Here’s how it works:

  • Fill a bag (or more!) with nutritious food for your neighbours.
  • Take a photo or video as you deliver your donation to your local grocery store or fire station or bring it to us at The Mississauga Food Bank (3121 Universal Dr).
  • Post your photo or video on social media and challenge five friends to do the same within 48 hours. Make sure to use the hashtag #OneBagChallenge!

 

3. Volunteer

Thanksgiving volunteers

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available this Thanksgiving! You can sign up on our Volunteer Calendar to:

  • Collect food and cash donations from shoppers at stores throughout Mississauga on Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9.
  • Assist our truck driver to pick up food donations across the city and deliver them to the Food Bank on Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Provide support at our Family Thanksgiving Celebration event on Saturday, October 8.

 

4. Join the COBS Bread School Food Drive Challenge

This Thanksgiving, COBS Bread is challenging all Elementary and Secondary schools across Mississauga to help feed hungry families. Participating schools will have from Monday, September 19 until Wednesday, October 12 at 9:00AM to raise the most food and funds for their neighbours. Once all donations have been collected from schools by The Mississauga Food Bank on October 12, the top Elementary and Secondary school will each have their efforts rewarded with a prize courtesy of COBS Bread! Click here to sign up.

5. Join the MBOT Corporate Food Drive Challenge

The Mississauga Board of Trade is challenging corporate teams across Mississauga to help feed their hungry neighbours. Participating corporate teams will have from September 19 to October 14 at 12pm to raise the most food and funds for families in need across Mississauga. Once all donations have been received, the top registered corporation will have their efforts rewarded with a prize courtesy of MBOT! All corporations, big or small, are encouraged to participate. Click here to sign up.

6. Join us at our Family Thanksgiving Celebration

Are you looking for something to do with the family on Thanksgiving weekend? How about teaching your kids about giving back? Bring your family to deliver a Thanksgiving Campaign food and/or cash donation on Saturday, October 8 at our Family Thanksgiving Celebration! We’ll be at Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services Headquarters waiting to celebrate your generosity with free family fun activities courtesy of our Thanksgiving Drive sponsors. Rabba Fine Foods will be matching your food donations at this event up to one ton! Thanks to Rabba for generously sponsoring this event.

7. Spread the Word

Download our social media shareables to promote the Thanksgiving Campaign to your family and friends.

CandyBox Marketing
 
 
The most dynamic, successful workplaces are the ones where “Teamwork” isn’t just a word on a motivational poster. Solid teamwork is one of the biggest strengths that you can have in the workplace and volunteering as a team can take your work-family to a whole new level.

We sat down with our Corporate Giving Coordinator, Stephanie, to tell us how:

Hi Stephanie! Your title is Corporate Giving Coordinator. What does that mean?
Mississauga is home to a lot of companies that want to make a positive impact in their community. I’m here to help them do that!

What are the top 3 reasons why a corporate team should come in to volunteer?
Well, first off, helping others is fantastic reason to take a break from the office. The Mississauga Food Bank provides food for 2.3 million meals each year and our volunteers help to make that happen. 

It’s also a very fun way for corporate teams to bond with each other. People who work well together outside of the office will, in turn, work well together inside the office.

Finally, it demonstrates your company’s values. It shows the community that you – and your company – care.

Stephanie Brown

Meet Stephanie: our Corporate Giving Coordinator

Is it fun?
Yeah of course it’s fun! It’s fun to take a break from your daily routine and give to a worthy cause. Most people aren’t aware of the complexities involved with running a food bank. You learn that it’s actually a lot of work to get our neighbours the help they need. And your team can play a huge part in that. Every team leaves here with the satisfaction that they’ve done something to make things easier for someone struggling to make ends meet.

What kind of things would a team do when they get here?
The average volunteer team shift is 3 hours long. First, you’d arrive and be trained on how we sort and inventory our food donations. When donations come in, we have to hand inspect them to ensure that they haven’t expired and their packaging isn’t damaged. We have to look at every single product, which requires a lot of volunteer help! Then we need to sort donations into different food categories.

We also need volunteer support to assist our truck drivers, which means you’re out in the community collecting food donations as well as distributing food to our member agencies across Mississauga.

So if a corporate team wants to volunteer at the food bank, what do they need to do to make that happen?
This year, we’ve reserved volunteer shifts during the busiest season (September – December) exclusively for corporate teams. We’re also asking that corporate teams first make an impact through a food or fund donation.

As the demand for corporate volunteer positions often exceeds the shifts we have available, we’ve chosen to recognize those groups who support us in other ways (funds and/or food) by providing them with opportunities to volunteer. We ask that every corporate team provide a minimum gift of $500 to cover the cost of resources needed to distribute the food which the group will sort, or to donate 300 lbs. of food. So, for example, we can help you organize a food drive or fundraiser in your workplace. Once that’s been completed, we can plan your corporate team building experience.

And you’re the person to reach out to get the ball rolling?
Yes! You can send me an email at stephanie@themississaugafoodbank.org or give me a call at 905-270-5589 x.228.