The hockey rink at Oriole Community Centre in North York has been converted to an emergency food bank to accommodate increased visits while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
North York Harvest Food Bank began operating at the closed community centre through a partnership with the City of Toronto. Using this space allows the organization to meet the increased demand from community members.
Aoyuan International, developers of the nearby M2M master plan project located at Yonge and Finch, donated $25,000 in support.
“We wanted to find a meaningful way to help North York as we all face the COVID-19 pandemic together,” 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. The majority of the front-line service agencies they support through food distribution have been forced to close due to their locations being in public spaces or because they were operated primarily by volunteers.
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.
“Food security and hunger are complex and persistent issues in the GTA, said Henry Chiu, director of development and marketing, North Harvest Food Bank. “These issues have become magnified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented challenges it presents. “We are so grateful for the support of Aoyuan during times like these.”