July 3, 2014 5:48 pm

Gratitude Bag tries to make donating food convenient for Torontonians

TORONTO – The so-called “gratitude bag” is a new initiative that volunteers are using to make donating food easier for Torontonians.

Volunteers drop off the bag on the front step of a house in the morning and give the homeowner the day to fill the bag up with non-perishable food items. The volunteers come back later to pick it up.

Gratitude bag organizers say the convenience of the bag is motivating people to donate.

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“A lot of people will say they’re busy with kids sports and work,” Trevor Watt, the director of operations for the Gratitude Bag said. “So we take the guess work of getting it to the food bank by picking it up ourselves.”

Organizers say they collected more than 12,000 pounds of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank during the first test of the gratitude bag in Riverdale in June.

Gail Nyberg, the executive director of the Daily Bread Food Bank said the convenience is what makes this drive so successful.

“You don’t necessarily in June and July and August think, ‘my neighbour might be hungry I should donate,’” Nyberg said. “But this draws attention to the issue and makes it simple to give.”

Nyberg said donations can sometimes slow during the summer months but to date, more than 10 tonnes of food have been collected with the gratitude bag.

Leslieville resident Ted Bisaillion received a bag Thursday morning and said the convenience convinced him to donate.

“I think anything you can do to make it easier for us, it’s better. My cupboards are 30 feet away so I can have a look and see if I have something extra,” he said.

Gratitude Bag will be doing one food drive a week, in a different neighbourhood each time. Organizers say the goal is to run a more ambitious food drive the fall.

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