July 30, 2014
Taking a new approach to improving food donations during the warmer months, Grant Gordon is bringing the food drive closer to home.
Grant’s campaign, The Gratitude Bag, is a new kind of food drive taking off in Toronto. The director of Key Gordon Communications, a design firm dedicated to making positive impacts in the world, Grant is also a community advocate, making contributions close to home a top priority.
The concept for The Gratitude Bag came to Grant last summer after a conversation he had with a friend who was working at the Daily Bread Food Bank. He realized how troubling the hunger issue was for communities because of the shortage in food donations.
“I was told the shelves were getting more and more bare,” Grant said. “When the weather gets warm and sunny, people forget to donate.”
He explained that throughout the holiday season food bank donations are in high demand, but during the summer months they are often neglected. For the people who rely on them most, they are left with little to eat. According to The Gratitude Bag website, there has been an 18 percent increase in visits to food banks since 2008.
Looking for a way to improve the flow of donations, Grant thought that the best approach was to make it easier for residents. Rather than have donations dropped off at the food bank, his idea was to have the food drive come to the homeowners.
Working with Daily Bread, Grant was able to start a few small campaigns in his Riverdale community last summer. This summer, The Gratitude Bag has expanded into other areas such as Leslieville and the Pocket. With the help of volunteers who go around neighbourhoods, homeowners are easily able to contribute.
“We go to a neighborhood and we drop off flyers the day before we do a pick up,” Grant explained. “The flyer tells you we’re coming tomorrow and to get items ready. The next morning, volunteers leave a bag on your doorstep.”
Key Gordon Communications designed the bags and flyers, as well as The Gratitude Bag website. Residents are asked to fill their bags with canned goods and other non-perishable items and leave it on their step to be picked up later on. Already this summer the response for The Gratitude Bag has been overwhelming. Trevor Watt, the Director of Operations, said the results have surpassed their expectations.
“We’ve raised over ten tons of food so far since June,” he said. “What makes The Gratitude Bag campaign so great is how convenient it is. Residents are totally willing to participate, and they always have food in their pantry, but they don’t always have the time to bring it to the food bank. It’s the simplicity that gets people to jump on board.”
For Grant, one rewarding aspect of his initiative is seeing how many children want to help contribute donations. He also hopes that it will make residents more aware of the hunger issue.
“There are millions of visits to food banks in Toronto every year,” he said. “The numbers climb. If we keep filling these bags up and leaving them on the front doorstep, it’s a great help. It’s really heartwarming to see.”
- Visit The Gratitude Bag website to learn more about the initiative and to get involved: www.gratitudebag.org
- To read more statistics about food banks in the GTA, visit the Daily Bread Food Bank website: www.dailybread.ca