Are you a registered agency?
We are an incorporated non-profit organization governed by the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act: 2020-04-30. Our Corporate Name is Toronto Cares Initiative. Our Corporation Number is 1203133-7. Our Business Number (BN) is 736496076RC0001.
Are you a food bank?
We are a food delivery service targeted to clients who are unable to access food banks. Although 211 has us listed as a food bank, this is simply for the purpose of categorization.
What is the difference between a charity and a non-profit?
Only charities are able to provide tax receipts. Due to this restriction, it is much more difficult for non-profits to acquire donations and grants.
Why are you a non-profit and not a charity?
Although both types of organizations are regulated by the government and CRA, to address current needs, we've decided to register as a non-profit for the time being. We are currently reviewing the charitable option, although the process can take up to two years to complete.
How are decisions made within your organization?
The major decisions within the organization are made by our Board Of Directors. Also, the majority of day-to-day decisions are made by a collaborative management team with no less than 8 members at any given time.
How do you ensure my privacy is protected?
All of our volunteers have signed a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that your personal information is kept private.
Who do you help?
Our services can be accessed by anyone, which is why we have a pay what you can model. Our targeted demographic is low income families who are unable to leave their homes for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also assist the homeless population within the tent-cities whenever possible.
What items are included in your boxes?
Included in each box, dependant on availability, is typically: cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, oatmeal, granola bars, cookies, kids snacks, fruits and vegetables (ex. oranges, grapes, mangoes, melon, apples, bananas, potatoes, carrots, onions), canned beans, canned soup, ramen soup, tuna, fresh bread/buns, cat/dog food, prepared meals.
Also when available: peanut butter, jam, sugar, honey, oil, margarine, coffee, tea, eggs, chips, toiletries, toys, books, and whatever else we have on hand or get donated.
Are all of the boxes identical?
The majority of the items in our boxes are the same, with the exceptions being:
Are your boxes customizable?
We are excited to announce that you may now customize your box to only contain the items that you need. Unfortunately we are still unable to do substitutions, but we will remove any unnecessary items.
How do you accommodate special diets and food allergies?
We are able to remove any items that may cause concern for families. We do not have substitutions available for the majority of our food. The only substitution that we are able to make is for the prepared meals when a vegetarian option is available from the supplier.
Do you have fresh food in your boxes?
Yes, every week we do include 3 types of fruit, 3 types of vegetables, freshly baked bread, as well as fresh buns/bagels when available. In addition, we try to include one meal that was prepared that day, per family member. We also never include expired food or food past the best before date.
Do you provide pet food?
We are only able to provide food for cats and dogs at this time.
Do you provide toiletries?
We may have the occasional toiletry items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, bar soap, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products.
Do you provide cleaning products?
We are excited to announce that we are now able to provide a limited number of cleaning products exclusively to our monthly subscribers.
Do you provide baby items?
Unfortunately we do not have diapers and formula available at this time. We do sometimes have stuffed toys.
Do you provide clothing?
Unfortunately we are not an agency that is able to provide any form of clothing.
Do you provide financial assistance?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide direct financial assistance at this time, but we are able to connect you to various community resources.
What other services do you offer?
What is the monthly subscription box?
For our recipients who require regular deliveries, they now have the opportunity to apply and pay one time for the entire month.
Can I get a box every other week?
We are proud to offer both weekly and bi-weekly, monthly subscription packages.
Is the food different in the subscription box?
All of the basic items are the same in the subscription and the as needed boxes, but there is a bonus box of staple items with an approximate $20 value that is only available to our monthly subscribers.
What is included in the bonus box?
Subscribers may choose from a list of at least 15 items. Bi-weekly subscribers may choose 3-5 items and weekly subscribers may choose 5-7 items. Currently, these items may include household cleaner, antibacterial hand wash, toiletry items, feminine hygiene products, peanut butter, jam, cooking oil, margarine, sugar, instant or ground coffee, tea, ketchup, bbq sauce, chips, and oatmeal.
Can I get the bonus box items if I am not a monthly subscriber?
No, unfortunately at this time that is not a possibility at our organization.
What is the process to apply for a box?
The intake form can be found on this website under the Grocery Boxes tab. Simply complete the application, followed by either the payment or emailing the intake team if you are unable to make the minimum payment. You will be notified of all details on the Friday before your delivery unless there are any questions regarding the information on your application, in which case we will contact you sooner.
How do you accommodate recipients without internet access?
Our phone number is 647-451-3663. Our hours are from 9am-9pm. Please leave a voicemail and a member of our intake team will be happy to return your call in less than 48 hours.
What payment methods are accepted?
E-transfer is the preferred method as there are no associated fees. Paypal is available if you wish to use your credit card, although there is an additional $1 fee per transaction. If you are unable to provide any form of electronic payment, please contact the intake team.
How often can i receive your box?
You can apply to receive a box each week if needed.
When is the weekly food box application open for submissions?
Our list opens every Wednesday morning and closes Tuesday evening for the following Saturday. For example, if you were to submit your application on Wednesday, then you would receive your box 10 days later. If you submit your application on Tuesday, you will only wait 4 days.
How often do I need to submit my application?
Since recipients require different levels of assistance, we request that you submit an application each time you require a box, whether it be on a weekly, monthly, or as needed basis.
What is the value of your boxes?
Each box has a minimum $50 value regardless of the actual amount spent.
Why is there a cost associated with your boxes?
We are currently paying for the majority of the food going into our boxes. We are able to do bulk purchases which increases the value. Since funding is limited, in order to keep the
organization running, we ask that anyone who is capable make a small donation toward their box.
Why do you charge different prices for the same box?
We work based on a pay what you can model that is structured according to various income levels.
What is the cost of preparing your boxes?
We purchase between 70-90% of the items included in our boxes. The remaining items are provided by commercial kitchens, restaurants, and corporate donors.
Do you still provide free boxes?
Each week we provide a designated number of emergency boxes at no cost to families in the greatest need.
What is an emergency box?
In the rare circumstance that a recipient is unable to afford the minimum cost of a box, after completing our full intake process, we are able to provide no cost boxes to qualified recipients.
What is the process to apply for an emergency no cost box?
Can I get help sooner?
For new recipients, or those who have not received a box for an extended period of time, who are facing extreme circumstances, we are able to provide a limited amount of emergency food assistance in 24 hours or less.
When will you notify me that my box is coming?
On Fridays, we contact recipients through their preferred method to confirm that their box will be delivered the next day.
On Saturdays, our volunteers call the recipients they will deliver to before leaving the distribution centre.
Our volunteers also call approximately 10 minutes before arrival at your home.
When will you deliver my box?
We are currently delivering every Saturday from 3-6pm.
Do you deliver directly to my door?
If you live in a house, then we are able to leave it on your doorstep. If you live in an apartment building, we are unfortunately unable to enter the building so recipients are required to meet their driver in the lobby or outside their building. This is due to COVID-19 safety precautions for our volunteers.
What are the size and weight of your packages?
We provide a significant quantity of food. Sometimes it can be difficult to carry in a single load. Therefore, we advise recipients with mobility issues who live in apartment buildings to bring a grocery cart in order to transfer their box back to their unit.
Do you provide assistance for the homeless?
Yes, every Saturday we visit a few tent-cities in the downtown core to hand out of leftover items from our grocery boxes as well as items purchased specifically for this program.
What type(s) of assistance do you provide the homeless in the tent-cities?
Each week, we provide leftover food such as meals and bread, buns and//or bagels, that is overflow from our grocery box donation. We also provide toiletry kits that we've been able to source supplies for, at a greatly discounted cost. Items vary from week to week, depending on what we receive as a donation.
What assistance do you provide the shelters and drop-in networks?
Each week, we provide leftover food such as meals, bread, buns and//or bagels, that are overflow from our grocery box donation. Items vary from week to week, depending on what we receive as a donation.
Do you accept donations?
We accept both financial and new in-kind/physical donations.
How can I donate?
What type of in-kind donations do you accept?
As long as it is new and not expired, we accept food, school supplies, toys, children’s books, toiletry items, and cleaning supplies.
How can I notify you that I would like to donate?
Can I volunteer?
We are always looking for a variety of volunteers. Please see our volunteering page at www.toronto-cares.ca/volunteers
Where does my financial donation go?
Over 90% of your donations go directly toward purchasing food and supplies for our recipients. Less than 10% of your donations may be used for administrative costs such as boxes and labels.
Where do my in-kind/physical donations go?
All physical donations are redistributed to our grocery box recipients, shelters and drop-in centres, and the homeless living in tent cities within the Toronto area.
Why do you need financial donations?
Unlike the majority of food banks that receive their supplies from Food Banks Canada, which are often past the best before date, we purchase most of our food directly from the suppliers to ensure that they are fresh.
Unlike charities, non-profits such as ourselves, only qualify for a fraction of the grants that are available.
Do you accept financial donations?
We are always happy to accept financial donations through PayPal, credit card, VISA/Mastercard debit cards via our website through the PayPal donation link located at the bottom of the homepage. We also accept email transfer to email@example.com
Do you accept in-kind/physical donations?
Currently, we are happy to accept unexpired foods, unexpired toiletries, unused school supplies, new toys, new cleaning supplies, unexpired pet food , new baby items/supplies.
At this time, we are unable to accept clothing of any kind as well as any expired or used products.
Do you accept second-hand donations?
Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to accept second-hand donations with the exception of gently used children books.
Do you pick up in-kind/physical donations?
Dependent on the volume of your donation, we are able to pick up large quantities of items. If you have a smaller donation, we have two locations where they can be dropped off (North York and Downtown East).
What is the process to become a volunteer?
The first step is to fill out the application located on this website, under the Volunteers tab.
Why do I have to sign a waiver to volunteer?
Our organization serves some of the most vulnerable populations in the community. We have access to their most private details, therefore we require all volunteers in every position to sign the waiver which includes a non-disclosure agreement.
Why do I have to sign photo consent?
Not only do we use photographs and videos to promote the organization, but the facility that we use is also under video surveillance.
What is the time commitment?
We will require a minimum of 3 hours per week dependent on the position. For admin and management positions, increased availability will be given priority during the review process.
How long will my contract last?
There is no contract for packing volunteers or delivery driving volunteers. For admin and management positions, we are looking for a minimum of 3 months commitment, at which time your position will be reviewed.
Are there minimum age requirements?
Why are there minimum age requirements for some positions?
Administrative and management positions have access to highly sensitive data, therefore we require a minimum age in order to participate in those particular jobs.
What are the requirements to join the admin or management teams?
Is an interview required to join the admin or management teams?
Yes, either a phone call or zoom meeting is required with a member of our management team.
What type of reference is acceptable to include in my application?
Due to the highly sensitive nature of the information you will be able to access, we require a reference that can speak to your character from someone in a supervisory position. (For example, co-op placements, community groups, employers, volunteer coordinators, post-secondary professors, landlord, etc.)
Can I use a friend, family member, or coworker as a reference?
No, please see the previous question regarding acceptable references.
Do you provide letters for OW and ODSP?
Yes, at this time, we are able to provide a letter based on your signed contract.
Do you provide letters for the CSSB?
Yes, at this time, we are able to provide a letter to post secondary students applying for the government grant regarding volunteer hours based on your hours completed.
Do you provide letters for high school students?
We ask that any high school students bring a printed copy of their volunteer hour sheet, which will be signed at the completion of your shift each day.
Can I get a professional reference?
Yes, we are happy to provide a reference to admin and management volunteers who successfully complete their contract. We are also happy to provide a reference to packing and delivery volunteers that participate frequently.
Are there any costs associated with volunteering?
Do you provide any technology?
As we are a non-profit organization, we do not have the budget to be able to provide phones or computers to our volunteers.
Do I have to use my own phone number to contact recipients?
We strongly recommend that our volunteers use an app called TextNow, which is an Internet phone number that you can use on any device.
What kind of programs do I need to use for an administrative position?
We use Google based technology including Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. Dependent on your position, we also use Constant Contact, Canva, Zoom, GoDaddy, TextNow, and various social media outlets. All of these are either free to download or we have an account for you to use.
Where is your packing facility?
We are located in the Roncesvalles United Church at 240 Roncesvalles Ave, although our entrance is around the side at 214 Wright St.
Is there parking available?
Yes, on the Roncesvalles side of the building there is a small parking lot available for packers. If you are a driver who is picking up or dropping off at the location, loop please pull up to the Wright St entrance instead.
Where is your distribution centre?
We currently offer 2 locations to pick up boxes for delivery. For anyone in the south or west ends of the city, please pick up at 214 Wright St. For anyone in the north or east ends of the city, please pick up at 1885 Leslie St.
How far apart will my deliveries be?
We cover Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and York Region. We do our best to group deliveries by city wards or neighbourhoods.
How will I be protected from COVID-19?
We ask our volunteers to please bring their own PPE when available. If not available, you will be provided with a mask and gloves. Our packing facility is a large gym in the basement of the church, providing plenty of room for social distancing during most of the process. We also request that drivers do not enter apartment buildings and maintain contactless deliveries whenever possible.
Is there a dress code or uniform?
We kindly request that all of our volunteers dress appropriately. For example, no discriminatory logos or phrasing, no overly suggestive clothing, etc. It is suggested for packers and drivers to not wear open toe shoes for safety reasons. Dress comfortably for lifting, bending, and extended periods on your feet.