When asked, what difference does Second Harvest make to The Dale Ministries, I always reply, “we could not do this without them”. Take the Monday lunch a few weeks ago: there were fifteen different fruits and vegetables in the meal our community prepared. Souad Sharabani, our volunteer kitchen coordinator, beautifully described it during the announcement period right before serving, reminding everyone how important it is that they “eat the vegetables first! Munchkins, angels, I beg you!”
At The Dale we believe a unique kind of community is built around a table. For someone who is largely isolated, having to pass the potatoes can create a sense of connection. The hope is by returning each week, that same person might come to know the others who have also gathered. We also place a high value on making healthy, nutritious food available, the kind that access is limited to amongst people who experience poverty. The day of our fruit and vegetable-packed meal, a person sitting across from me said, “this food tastes like it was made with love. I haven’t shared a meal like this in years“.
Second Harvest is the largest food rescue organization in Canada. They are reducing the amount of food waste by recovering it before being thrown out. Every Sunday we receive a delivery of food that has been salvaged: oftentimes cases of produce, sometimes meat, bread, and dairy products, occasionally treats like baked goods, juice or even ice-cream sandwiches. It is good food, just maybe surplus or near its best before date and therefore removed from retail shelves. Our menu is built on what we receive.
From September 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018, Second Harvest delivered 11,870 pounds of food to The Dale, a donation valued at $29,675.00. Isn’t that incredible? Those numbers give shape to what I mean when I say we can’t do this without them. Together we are reducing waste AND hunger, with a whole lot of love mixed in.