Money outpacing food donations at food bank's annual drive
Published Thursday, December 27, 2012 12:44PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 27, 2012 1:55PM EST
Hundreds of volunteers are sorting, packing and shelving items at Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank this week, attempting to organize donations before the agency’s holiday drive draws to a close.
The food bank has four more days to reach its holiday collection goal of one million pounds of food. But as of Thursday, the food bank was halfway to its targetwith only 585,000 pounds of food.
“Donation-wise, food has actually been really, really slow,” Sarah Anderson, senior manager of communications at Daily Bread, said in a phone interview Thursday.
Those numbers, however, don’t necessarily mean Torontonians aren’t in a giving mood.
This holiday season, Daily Bread has reported more success collecting financial donations than actual food items. Even with food donations lagging, the agency surpassed its Holiday Drive monetary goal of $1.7 million on Thursday -- raising a total of $1.85 million.
“The money was coming in pretty consistently, so what we did was we actually upped our financial goal,” said Anderson. “We figured that if the food was going a bit slow, at least if we got money we would be able to buy food to make up for the shortfall.”
She added that Daily Bread anticipated back in October that it would experience slower holiday food donations, when food contributions slowed during its Thanksgiving food drive.
Non-perishable food items such as pasta, tomato sauce and canned beans remain in high demand. However, Anderson said she’s observed a shift toward financial donations this year.
Financial gifts aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Money allows Daily Bread to make up for any shortfall in food donations. If there happens to be a shortage of more traditional products such as peanut butter, beans or powdered milk, the agency can fill in the gaps.
“Money donations do give us a bit more flexibility,” said Anderson. “Our dollar also stretches further than one of our donor’s dollars, just because we have the power to buy in bulk.”
Food collected and purchased during Daily Bread’s 2012 Holiday Drive will be used for food hampers being distributed in January, February and March of next year.
Gail Nyberg, executive director of Daily Bread, said it has become apparent that the food bank will not reach its financial goals but that shortfall will be offset by the agency’s financial donations.
“I’m confident that we can get the food totals up a little more but I am as happy as heck that Toronto came through,” she told CTV Toronto on Thursday.
According to Food Banks Canada, the nation’s food bank usage is 31 per cent higher this year than it was in 2008, before the start of the global recession. In March 2012 alone, more than 880,000 people are estimated to have used the services of a Canadian food bank.
With files from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman
A volunteer sorts through food donations at the Daily Bread Food Bank facility in Toronto on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012.