Skip to main content

'Harvest Hands' closing the gap on food insecurity and production surplus

Jim Collins and his family have spent years helping those less fortunate.

“For years, we always had taken care of a half a dozen families,” he said.

Then in March 2020, Collins decided to take that idea and grow it to tackle the food insecurity crisis among the most vulnerable and at the same try to redirect production food waste from landfills — Harvest Hands was born.

“We began by contacting growers, retailers and food processors and asking them ‘do you have any seconds? Do you have any surplus product? Anything that's approaching the best before date?’ And to our absolute amazement, they responded so generously.”

Collins says it started by rescuing $500 worth of food a week and redirecting it to missions and food banks. The idea and has since grown exponentially.

“Now we are rescuing more than, on average, of $82,000 each and every week,” said Collins.

Harvest Hands is closing in on $8-million of product received, and now provides food for charities stretching from Windsor to Oshawa.

“We're providing food for the equivalent of 40,000 meals each and every month.” added Collins.

The operation is completely run by volunteers, “We’re here five days a week, and we enjoy everything we do,” said Peggy, who is one of over 70 people who help in various roles and commitment. Many devote the equivalent of a full time job to the cause.

“It’s just a satisfaction of knowing that what we're doing is helping others and I've always had a passion of helping others,” said Lee Ann Lilley, who has been with the charity since the beginning.

Collins told CTV News the demand for the service has increased year over year by 35 per cent and they are looking for more volunteers to help with the growing number of donations that need to processed and sent out. Top Stories

Stay Connected