Second Harvest Canada: Responding to the spread of COVID-19

The spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented challenges that even the most forward thinking nonprofit leaders  could not have predicted.  Unlike many defining events, almost every single person on the planet is feeling the effects of social distancing , restrictions on mass gatherings, and the  uncertain future of national and global economies. 


Nonprofits are facing some of the harshest realities- the demand for their services is increasing exponentially and  donations to support their work  are slowing or stopping altogether.  It's hard to be optimistic in times like these, but  there are so many examples of people and organizations that are facing these challenges head on and  finding ways to ensure their organizations and mission work survive.

Second Harvest Canada is a perfect example. Like most large nonprofits, spring is their biggest fundraising  season and they've had to push back one of their biggest events- Toronto Taste- to  2021.  However, as the largest food rescue organization in Canada, the demand for their services has exploded.

Second Harvest recovers nutritious, unsold food from food businesses before it becomes waste and distributes it to a broad network of social service organizations through its fleet of trucks and its online food donation platform Their innovative approach to getting  nutritious food to high need populations has also  made them a global thought leader in food recovery. Second Harvest has operated in Canada since 1985 and has come to be a vitally important organization  for both the individuals that benefit from their work and for the organizations they partner with.

Despite the challenges they've faced, Second Harvest trucks have remained on the road. grew from serving two provinces to complete expansion across Canada: through direct delivery and, food. They rescued nearly 2 million meals in March alone. Second Harvest was able to  mobilize their resources incredibly quickly and adapted their procedures to ensure the health and safety of their staff, volunteers, guests and community partners.  To support the increasing costs of their COVID-19 response, they launched  a "COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund"  on  their website. 


Second harvest truck donate

Their staff were savvy enough to know that they needed to launch additional fundraising efforts  as soon as possible  and were able to re-brand the donation form  they already had linked to their homepage.  The page, which is hosted on Panorama by FrontStream raised  over CAD$54,000 in its first week and as of  May 4, has raised over CAD$324,500. 

Second Harvest  has partnered with FrontStream since 2010 for their digital fundraising efforts. Currently they use Panorama by FrontStream to collect direct donations on their website and  for their signature peer-to-peer event "Second Harvest Hero"

Laila  Jafri, Development Officer, Individual Giving, says:

“I love that we can access donor notes immediately from this page, it’s meaningful and easily accessible data that keeps us motivated and informed about our donors sentiments.”

Laila sends the daily donor notes to the  Second Harvest staff, helping to keep them connected to their mission and  remind them of the massive amount of support they've received from their community.

More about Second Harvest:

   Second-Harvest-large-transparentNo Waste. No Hunger.

Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue charity with a dual mission of environmental protection and hunger relief. We recover nutritious, unsold food from food businesses before it becomes waste and distribute to a broad network of social service organizations.

Second Harvest also operates a free digital platform that connects businesses with surplus food to non-profits who can use that food. By directly connecting businesses and non-profits, allows for easy food recovery, positively impacting both people in the community and the environment.

Support their Emergency COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund  now. 



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