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Farm to Food Bank, an initiative of the Daily Bread Food Bank ensures fresh produce is available for clients.

Both in Toronto and the GTA, food insecurity endures, and shifting demographics make it tough to pinpoint where hunger will linger next.

But Daily Bread Food Bank – with the help of committed donors – is taking on an ambitious goal: to boost access to food by 20 per cent to 20 priority neighbourhoods across this city.

It’s no secret that housing costs continue to rise in the city core. To keep up, many have moved to the outer suburbs where community programs are scarce and grocery stores are often not within walking distance. In these communities – primarily Etobicoke and Scarborough – hunger has begun to flourish.

“With our network of front-line agencies and food banks across the city, Daily Bread is uniquely positioned to support those 20 neighbourhoods to address the immediate needs of their most vulnerable residents,” says Neil Hetherington, CEO of Daily Bread Food Bank. “We’ve set out an ambitious goal, but it’s not an impossible one. With the help our partners, I have no doubt that we can make a tangible impact,” he adds.

That is where Daily Bread’s Farm to Food Bank program steps in to lend a hand. Daily Bread has partnered with local farms across Ontario, picking up truckloads of donated fruit and vegetables that are then made available at food banks and meal programs across Toronto year-round.

“I appreciate the selection and choice of vegetables and fruit,” says Carlo, who regularly visits a food bank in Etobicoke. “When I come to the food bank, I can get basic produce like potatoes, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, and a variety of fruit. The options here keep a healthy diet in mind.”

Dominion Farm Produce, a farm located in Bradford, Ontario, began donating their ‘perfectly imperfect’ produce more than 10 years ago, and last year alone supplied more than 380,000 pounds of vegetables.

To those looking to give back: now is the perfect time to get involved. The demand is high, the need is there, and our doors are open.

Neil Hetherington, Daily Bread Food Bank CEO

“We are so happy to share our good fortune by donating vegetables that are not perfect looking, but perfectly nutritious,” says Tony Tomizza, general manager of Dominion Farm Produce. “It’s a win-win. By donating the vegetables, we are making a difference and helping hungry people, and at the same time, keeping the seconds out of the landfill.”

This combination of social and environmental good is something that the Walmart Foundation is also proud to support.

As part of its $19-million commitment to prevent food waste and support food banks, the Walmart Foundation announced in January that it would devote $889,000 in support of Daily Bread’s Farm to Food Bank program.

“The Walmart Foundation is excited to support the work of Daily Bread Food Bank to help better understand and fight food waste,” says Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart.

“For over 10 years, Walmart has been working to reduce food waste and strengthen charitable programs to get food to those who need it most. We hope this grant will catalyze collective action to reduce food waste all along the food chain, from farm to fork.”

Fresh produce from the Farm to Food Bank program keeps healthy eating at the forefront.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. Daily Bread Food Bank relies on committed volunteers and generous donors to keep food banks and meal programs up and running. Food banks in this city see up to one million visits a year. And their service won’t stop until the need does.

“To those who have stepped up when it was needed most – both donors and volunteers alike – thank you. Fighting hunger is a communal effort, and the generosity shown by our closest partners illustrates just that,” says Mr. Hetherington. “To those looking to give back: now is the perfect time to get involved. The demand is high, the need is there, and our doors are open.”

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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