Norfolk General Hospital and Second Harvest’s Food Rescue Program: A transformative partnership addressing food insecurity

(Pictured left to right in the photo: Melissa Roloson, Nutritional Services Aide; Brodie Vecero, Nutritional Services Aid; and Bonnie Major, Food Service Supervisor)

Date issued: Thursday, January 25, 2024

(Simcoe) – Norfolk General Hospital (NGH) has launched an initiative that will give thousands of pounds of food to the community through Second Harvest’s Food Rescue program. This collaboration, which began in November 2023, has already made a significant impact in addressing food insecurity in our community. Through this transformative partnership, NGH has successfully distributed nearly 7,500 pounds of nutritious food to local food banks. The primary goal of this initiative is to reduce food waste, provide direct support to our community, and uphold our commitment to environmental responsibility.

Food insecurity is a pressing issue affecting approximately 18% of households in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. NGH recognizes the crucial role that food plays in community health and has made it a priority to address this issue. By partnering with Second Harvest’s Food Rescue program, NGH is taking a proactive step towards building a healthier and more sustainable community.

Todd Stepanuik, President and CEO of Norfolk General Hospital, expresses his gratitude for the partnership, stating, “Norfolk General Hospital is proud of its partnership with Second Harvest’s Food Rescue program. Lack of access to healthy food is a challenge for many. This initiative has major impacts on the overall health of our community as good nutrition is fundamental to good health. Our partnership has enabled thousands of pounds of nutritious food to be distributed to families in need.”

Second Harvest’s is Canada’s largest food rescue organization, operating since 1985. The platform connects businesses with surplus food to social service programs in local communities, emphasizing a localized approach to combating food waste and hunger. NGH’s partnership with Second Harvest has allowed them to redirect surplus food to those in need, significantly reducing waste and making a positive impact on the lives of many.

Bonnie Major, the Food Service Supervisor at Norfolk General, along with the entire Healthcare Food Service Workers team, takes great pride in the accomplishments of the program. Bonnie highlights the variety of items donated, including prepared meals, baby food, meat, fish, and produce. By utilizing Second Harvest’s platform, NGH can provide their surplus food to those in need rather than letting it go to waste.

As Norfolk General Hospital continues to focus on population health, addressing food insecurity plays a pivotal role. This partnership with Second Harvest is a testament to NGH’s commitment to fostering a healthier, more sustainable community. By redirecting surplus food to those in need, NGH and Second Harvest are not only reducing waste but also making a positive impact on the lives of many.

Together, NGH and Second Harvest strive for a healthier and more resilient community, where no one goes without a nutritious meal. This partnership sets an example for other organizations and demonstrates the power of collaboration in addressing pressing social issues.

For more information about Norfolk General Hospital and Second Harvest’s Food Rescue program, please visit NGH’s website and Second Harvest’s website.