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Vince’s partners with Newmarket Food Pantry to reduce waste

Food rescue program redistributes items nearing “best before” dates to those who need it most through community fridge
Vince’s and Newmarket Food Pantry team members gather at the Community Fridge on Park Avenue in front of Newmarket Library.

In an effort to tackle food waste, as well as support vulnerable individuals in our community, Vince's Market takes part in the Newmarket Food Pantry’s Food Rescue program.

The program redistributes food that is nearing its “best before” date but remains safe, delicious and wholesome, according to the independent grocer.

Vince’s donates end-of-day prepared foods, as well as salads, entrees, sandwiches, sliced meats, cut fruit and vegetable trays, dips, yogurts, milk, roast chickens, bakery items, eggs, cheese, bread, and more.

Since April, Vince’s has donated 5,195 pounds of food valued at $18,746 — an equivalent of more than 5,840 meals.

“We are grateful to organizations like the Newmarket Food Pantry for helping so many families in the areas we serve,” said Vince’s president Giancarlo Trimarchi. “It is even more urgent now as some of them, pressured by the high costs of housing, may have to choose between buying enough food or paying the rent. We are pleased that our donations are making a positive difference in the community.”

Food waste is a significant issue in Canada, with more than half the food produced — approximately 50 million tons — being thrown out and costing the economy $49 billion per year. Not only does this add to our carbon footprint, even more importantly, this sends a cruel message when so many Canadians are experiencing food insecurity.

Overall, demand on the Food Rescue program is growing, but thanks to a growing pool of community partners, the food pantry has seen donations grow. According to resource development co-ordinator Vesna Mitchell, during the past month, the organization has rescued more than 18,000 pounds of food, which is up from the usual 10,000 to 14,000 pounds per month.

Much of the rescued food is redirected to an outdoor commercial fridge, colourfully signed, and suitably housed for year-round use in front of Newmarket Library. It operates on the honour system, with clients taking what they need of the mostly ready to eat, grab-and-go items.

Vesna added that the community fridge is monitored at least five times per day, with volunteers checking the quantity and quality of what’s available for clients. York Region Public Health also drops by approximately twice per month.

“It takes a village to address food insecurity and food waste in a community. This is why partnerships, like the one we have with Vince’s Market, are so important,” Vesna said. “Our food rescue program consists of local businesses working together with our volunteers to help reduce our carbon footprint while providing meals for our community members in need. This is what community is all about, neighbours helping neighbours. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Vince’s has also been donating pre-selected food bags through an in-store program over the last seven years. Donations, so far in 2023, total 804 pounds at a value of $2,580.