Topics: Ethical Living | Society

Second Harvest gives food another chance to nourish

Photographer Bill Leontaritis went to 40 community organizations to create "Hope in Progress"

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Second chance: Volunteers prepare a meal at the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. The menu is improvised, based on the surprise delivery from Second Harvest. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Second chance: Volunteers prepare a meal at the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. The menu is improvised, based on the surprise delivery from Second Harvest. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)

“No Waste. No Hunger.” That is the motto of Toronto’s Second Harvest Food Rescue. The non-profit’s fleet of 10 trucks collects healthy, perishable food that would otherwise be discarded from farmers, retailers and manufacturers. This excess food may be close to its expiration date, overstock or have damaged packaging, but it’s perfectly good to eat. Then the trucks deliver these donations to social service agencies, where volunteers turn them into delicious meals.

In partnership with Second Harvest, photographer Bill Leontaritis went to 40 such community organizations to create his photo essay, “Hope in Progress.” At after-school programs, churches, women’s shelters, newcomer centres and drop-ins, Leontaritis took intimate images of hard-working kitchen volunteers and the men, women and children who rely on their efforts.

His photographs capture close-up views of receivers lugging boxes in the early morning and kitchen staff hurriedly and expertly preparing menus on-the-spot with delivery contents that are a surprise each morning. The photographs convey a dedication and enthusiasm that might not otherwise be seen.

— Ronit Novak

Drivers for Second Harvest deliver salvaged food to Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Food truck: Drivers for Second Harvest deliver salvaged food to Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Mealtime: John waits at Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer, one of almost 400 spots that receive Second Harvest food. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Mealtime: John waits at Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer, one of almost 400 spots that receive Second Harvest food. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Life skills: Children gather at Believe to Achieve in northwest Toronto to provide a meal for those in need. At the same time, they learn cooking skills they can use in the future. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Life skills: Children gather at Believe to Achieve in northwest Toronto to provide a meal for those in need. At the same time, they learn cooking skills they can use in the future. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Sojourner House: Volunteers at this “essential lifeline for refugees coming to Toronto” serve up delicious meals. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)
Sojourner House: Volunteers at this “essential lifeline for refugees coming to Toronto” serve up delicious meals. (Photo: Bill Leontaritis)

This photo essay first appeared in Broadview‘s October 2019 issue.

Broadview is an award-winning progressive Christian magazine, featuring stories about spirituality, justice and ethical living. For more of our content, subscribe to the magazine today.

Bill Leontaritis is a photographer based in Toronto.

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  • says:

    We need more emphasis on the good in people.