Just four weeks ago, Kate Salter was doing what most Torontonian urbanites do best–scrolling through Bunz Trading Zone. On this particular day, a post caught her eye. It was a request for groceries–specifically a banana. So struck by the the amount of Torontonians experiencing food insecurity, Kate posted an offer on the Bunz group wall to cook and share food to anyone in need, while keeping the trade completely confidential. Her post spurred a wave of requests and GoodFood Help was born. The group aims to drop fresh fruits and vegetables, packed inside an unmarked black bag, within five days of an initial request, or in 12 hours if the recipient is currently without any food source.
(Image of Kate Salter, as originally seen on She Does the City)
There has been a huge outpouring of support on Bunz and beyond, however at four weeks old, GoodFood Help is almost entirely self-funded. That’s why the Gladstone Hotel has stepped in to present the launch and fundraiser for this incredible initiative on June 20. Stop by for an epic Launch Party and Variety Show in the Ballroom. The night will be hosted by Stephen Eyes and DJ Kaleb Robertson and will feature live music, comedy, raffle prizes and an excellent opportunity to meet and mingle with the Bunz community and beyond! RSVP to the Facebook event here. We sat down with the founder Kate to learn more about this amazing initiative.
Everyone on the Gladstone loves using Bunz Trading Zone. Why do you think it’s such a useful outlet to help with food insecurity issues?
Bunz Trading Zone actually started with a request to trade for groceries. The founder needed a can of tomatoes to make a pasta sauce, but didn’t have the money to buy it. By using social media, and Bunz specifically, we have the opportunity to reach people who need the service but may not have accessed a food bank before. By meeting in a neutral place and offering a discreet service, we’re able to reach an entirely new audience.
Bunz is wonderful at connecting people and helping us overcome urban isolation.
Absolutely. Our clients have ranged from your typical student on a tight budget to a former executive of a well-known Toronto company. Food insecurity can strike you at anytime–it can happen when you get an unexpected vet bill, a missed paycheck, are in between contracts etc. I’ve experienced it–even when I was gainfully employed.
(Fresh produce from Good Food Help)
When GoodFood Help launched four weeks ago, it was instantly met with a huge demand. How are you keeping up with it all?
The recent press we’ve gotten has especially increased the demand and it’s been a challenge to meet the demand. We’re almost entirely self-funded right now and even with all the support, there is a deficiency of donations in relation to the huge need we’ve seen. To address it, we started a GoFundMe campaign and planted a garden (thanks to my former neighbour who was so inspired, she went to Canadian Tire and bought everything we needed to plant it). In the last week, the harden has reaped enough produce to feed salads to 15 people.
I read that you are working on creating a template so this model can exist in different towns and cities.
Yes! We’re trying to create a model so GoodFood Help can flourish in different chapters. In Toronto there are many food services. I grew up in a small town, and I know in rural areas, these services can be harder to find. That’s where a model like GoodFood Help can especially go a long way.
We’re really excited for the fundraiser! Through door sales/raffle prizes–how will the money raised help support GoodFood Help?
A majority of the funds will go directly back into food purchase. We’re also working on developing a sustainable donation flow and connecting further with the community. We’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support from the community. I’m in awe of the Gladstone for having your support with the launch. You guys are a cornerstone of our West End community, so having you behind us really means a lot!
THANK YOU KATE! Our pleasure!
We hope you’ll come out to the GoodFood Help’s official Launch Party and Fundraiser to help this incredible cause AND have a blast. RSVP to the Facebook page and be sure to come out on June 20!