Nourishing Communities – Full Bellies and Warm Hearts in Toronto the Good

Good nutrition is more than just what you eat, it’s about nourishing others too. Any time of year is a great time of year to give back to your community and local organizations. However, there is something about the holiday season that beckons us to want to do more and give more. There are so many opportunities to give back through food and nutrition related programs in our city. This article just scratches the surface of all of the meaningful ways you can give back. Let these ideas inspire you to be part of something essential to our communities. Your own community: Nourishing others starts in your own backyard. Before looking into volunteer opportunities, consider those in your neighbourhood who may need your help. Whether it is a senior living alone with no family close by, or a family who is dealing with sickness in their household, there is always a chance to prepare and share a hot meal with them. If this is too much for you to handle on your own, organize a schedule of other neighbours in your community who can contribute as well.  Share the costs and the extra work, while still showing your neighbour in need that you are thinking about them and want to support them. Second Harvest: Food waste is a huge issue in Toronto and worldwide. Second Harvest’s goal is to “rescue food” by recovering fresh surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away. This rescued food is then donated to more than 200 Toronto establishments that feed a range of people from youth to seniors. No waste, No hunger, is their mission. Learn how you can get involved by becoming a Second Harvest ambassador, a volunteer at events, a community leader and more at http://secondharvest.ca/volunteer/.   Out of the Cold: Offered throughout Canadian cities, Out of the Cold has many Toronto chapters where you can volunteer. Its aim is to help the homeless population during the coldest months of the year in Toronto (January – April) by providing many essential services. A popular component of this program is the warm suppers that are served with dignity and care to program attendants. Inquire with a chapter near you to see when volunteers are needed to help cook or serve the hot meals. Learn more about the volunteer sites at: https://web.archive.org/web/20150912092709/http://www.ootc.ca/site_schedule.php FoodShare: Committed to the mandate of providing sustainable food systems for all, this Toronto-based organization is one of our city’s pioneers, advocating for food justice as a human right. FoodShare offers ample programs within the city, so take the time to look through their website to see which initiatives speak to your interests and where volunteers are needed. For example, you can volunteer in their kitchen packing wellness boxes, in their garden, with their Field to Table school program, or by packing produce for schools and non-profit agencies.  http://foodshare.net/activity/volunteer/ . Gilda’s Club Supper Club program: A socially supportive environment is the cornerstone of the Not-Just-Supper Club at Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto. Extended to Gilda’s Club members twice a week, this program supports those who are dealing with cancer and their caregivers. This enterprise provides members with nutrient-dense, health-promoting meals to help them through some of the most challenging times they are likely to face. Learn more about this incredible initiative at: https://gildasclubtoronto.org/whats-cookin-at-gildas/ and apply for a Supper Club volunteer position at: https://gildasclubtoronto.org/become-a-volunteer/

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