Toronto 'pay-what-you-can' soup bar feeds the hungry, cuts waste
A Toronto chef says he got tired of seeing copious amounts of good food going to waste so he decided to collect it and feed it to hungry people.
Jagger Gordon and his volunteers serve organic soups, sandwiches and salads to hundreds of people each day at the Feed it Forward Soup Bar near a community centre in the city’s west end.
People who can’t afford to eat enough are welcome to pay nothing for their meals, while others who are more fortunate can “pay it forward” by covering the cost of a meal for someone else.
The food is partly grown on a donated organic farm outside of the city, while other donated ingredients are sourced from bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores.
Gordon tells CTV News Channel he got the idea for the “pay-what-you-can” food stand when he realized that tens of billions of dollars of food is being thrown away in Canada each year, while hundreds of thousands go hungry.
Part of his mission, he says, is to educate people who are wasting food to “stop binge buying, stop throwing things out and utilize the products that are in your fridge.”
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the average single-family household in Toronto discards about 275 kilograms of food each year -- about a quarter of all purchases. Tonnes more is thrown out before it ever reaches consumers.
Meanwhile, about one in eight households in Toronto experience “food insecurity” annually, according to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Gordon has met a few of those who don’t have enough. “You get the happy smiles and the handshakes,” he says. “And also the tears because there’s no one (else) really doing this.”
Last year, about 2.4 per cent of the Canadian population – or 863,492 people – used food banks, according to Food Banks Canada.