Food is at the centre of everything we do at Covenant House. It is the first thing we offer youth when they come through our doors, and it is what fuels them as they move towards independent living. Without having to worry about where to find their next meal, the young people at Covenant House are better able to focus on their goals forward.

Every week for over 10 years, food rescue service, Second Harvest, has delivered ingredients used to prepare meals for the youth at Covenant House. A recent delivery consisted of fresh lettuce, cherry tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, fruit juice boxes, veggie burgers, chocolate snack bars and trays of chicken dinners.

The Food Services department at Covenant House relies on these weekly deliveries, says manager Maria Canay.

“The food we receive from Second Harvest really makes a difference because it helps us to ensure that we can offer a wide variety of food to the young people, especially those who have special dietary needs.”

Donations from organizations like Second Harvest and others also help stock the food bank located in our drop-in centre, which is open to youth aged 16-24. Unfortunately with recent post-pandemic inflation, food bank visits are at an all-time high across the country, According to Food Banks Canada’s latest Hungercount Report, 15 per cent of food bank users are young people aged 18 to 30.

Lately, Covenant House’s food bank needs constant replenishment to meet these increasing demands.

Oneil Simpson, who supervises the drop-in centre, says it has been a struggle to keep the shelves stocked. Most of the young people who use the food bank are either couch surfing or living in the community, he says. They find it difficult to afford the rising cost of food, while also trying to pay their rent.

Young people like Jackson can access the food bank every Friday. “The support provided by the food bank on Fridays adds extra security when it comes to knowing that I have food to eat,” he says.

Covenant House’s food bank continues to be stretched, a trend that is being observed by too many service providers. Currently, there is a considerable need for food items at Covenant House’s food bank. for items including:

  • canned meat and fish
  • pasta
  • rice
  • canned vegetables
  • juice boxes
  • pasta sauce
  • dry cereal
  • granola bars

Those who wish to help can contact our Operations Warehouse at Ops-Warehouse@covenanthouse.ca