Food banks across Toronto have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the increase in demand for food, they’ve had to deal with the closure of front-line service agencies that provide food support, programming and connections to neighbourhoods in need of assistance. Many of these agencies have been forced to close due to their locations in public spaces or because they were operated primarily by volunteers.
Aoyuan International recognized the mounting challenges that food banks are currently faced with and has stepped up with a donation of $25,000 to support the North York Harvest Food Bank. The developer of the four-tower M2M Condos residential community at 5915 Yonge Street felt compelled to support and build community resilience amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the $25,000 donation from Aoyuan, North York Harvest will be able to accommodate 16,000 food bank visits from 5,000 households throughout the month.
“Times of crisis present an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our values and find ways to support one another,” said Vince Santino, Senior Vice President of Development at Aoyuan International.
“We believe by donating to North York Harvest Food Bank and supporting their network of front-line agencies throughout the GTA, we can help their incredible team continue to do their vital work of ensuring everyone has access to food and that we can help them respond to the increased demand they are facing during these unprecedented times.”
As the primary food bank in northern Toronto, North York Harvest distributes more than two million pounds of food annually through a mix of neighbourhood programs and by supporting front-line service agencies. In response to the closure of a number of service agencies, North York Harvest has partnered with the Toronto Public Library to open new food spaces strategically located near the closed front-line agencies. The hockey rink at the Oriole Community Centre has also been converted into an emergency food space to accommodate the surge in visits while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Food security and hunger are complex and persistent issues in the GTA and have become magnified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented challenges it presents,” said Henry Chiu, Director of Development and Marketing, North Harvest Food Bank.
“We are so grateful for the support of Aoyuan during times like these. Their donation means we can continue to provide a safe environment for our frontline essential workers while also ensuring residents in need can access food through our North York Harvest network of agencies.”