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Food-related volunteering [Toronto]

Hi All,

I've recently moved to Toronto from London, where I used to volunteer for a charity that ran a meal delivery service for people wil HIV- and AIDS-related illnesses. I alternated between being a kitchen assistant and being a shift supervisor. It was an enjoyable and worthwhile thing to do, and was a good way of meeting new people. This last one is especially important to me now that I'm in a new city, so I was looking for something similar in Toronto.

Do any of you 'hounds volunteer anywhere like this? I searched "volunteer" and "soup kitchen" on this board but didn't come up with much. I found a program called Out of the Cold, but that's not til winter, and a scheme where you cook up a tray of casserole and drop it off to be combined with matching trays, but that lacks the social aspect. Lots of them are on weekdays during working hours, which is impossible. Ideally I'd prefer something secular, and something local to the Beach, but could travel along Queen or Danforth.

Thanks for your help! :)

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      1. Consider the "Cooking with Soul" program at Beach United. Usually some instruction around an interesting ingredient or dish that is prepared by that Saturday morning's 10 or so participants. Enough is prepared for the group to enjoy over lunch, and also serve the next week's lunch program.

        The Out of the Cold at St Aidens has a strong social element. The team shares the tasks for meal preparation, serving, and some join the guests for dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gothlig

          Cooking with soul sounds interesting. They seem to be on a break at the moment but I'll definitely check back.

          I'll look into Out of the Cold again later in the year. THanks!

        2. I believe the Scott Mission uses volunteers to help cook meals.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ziggystardust

            People with AIDS Foundation has a meal program that requires volunteers.

            1. re: Danybear

              Thanks, that looks like a great cause! But seems to be during the day so not right for me this time.

              1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                Thanks for this, looks very promising though I'm not a lawyer!

              2. The Stop Community Food Centre is always in need of volunteers! The site will provide all the info you need. The Stop has a very good reputation for the work they do in this City.

                1 Reply
                1. re: 26Marushka

                  One of the challenges with The Stop is that they generally require daytime volunteers with the exception of people for one-of volunteering opportunities. I've been wanting to work with them for the past few years but couldn't make it work. They do great work though!


                2. I'm not in Toronto but can tell you that in Chicago the feeding programs are run from churches so you might check churches. Whether you are making sandwiches, baking cookies at home to bring in, cooking a hot meal, dishing out spaghetti, or distributing bag lunches, here you would definitely be working (as a volunteer) with a church program. I see your note that you want to remain secular but I don't see how that would be a problem as the feeding programs I have worked with (half a dozen in as many churches) have not had a worship component.

                  1. How about The Stop? The location is not ideal, but they do amazing programming for anti-hunger and anti-poverty movements. http://thestop.org/volunteer

                    1. I will broaden this post to include items that are food related and do help out with homeless/poor people but not directly.

                      Yesterday I just volunteered for Toronto Taste for the first time. It is a huge annual event put on by Second Harvest (been at the ROM the last few years). They have a wide variety of duties as a volunteer including checking people in, giving out loot bags at the end, clearing tables (which was what I was doing). They said the evening generations enough donations to provide for lik 750,000 meals. I am still sore from last night, but, it was an interesting experience. They have a really big team of volunteers. They also do other things throughout the year like having people at TTC stations canvassing for "lunch money", etc.
                      There is also Not Far From The Tree which I have been wanting to volunteer for but haven't been able to make the schedule work yet. Basically, they will harvest private property fruit trees. A third goes to the landowner, a third to the volunteers and a third to the food bank

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ylsf

                        I volunteered for Not Far from the Tree just working a table at the Ward 19 environment day. They picked my grape vine last year but I've never been able to volunteer for a picking because - at least in my neighbourhood - they book up incredibly fast. So at this Environment Day I worked with some great people, talked to more great people from the neighbourhood, met my councillor, it was a fun time! I think they are participating in some community canning sessions coming up so there is quite a variety of volunteer opportunities.