How do I help my family get access to food during COVID-19?

Many families who are struggling to put food on the table because of the pandemic may be eligible for Toronto’s food delivery program.

What is the food delivery program?

The City of Toronto has partnered with the Red Cross to deliver food to Torontonians who are unable to leave their homes because of COVID-19. 

Many people, especially seniors and those with health issues that make them more vulnerable to the virus, are being forced to self-isolate for their own and others’ safety. If you’re a newcomer, chances are that you don’t have a network of family and friends to support you if you’re unable to go out and get food. 

This can be especially difficult living in an expensive city like Toronto. Savings tend to run out more quickly because of the city’s high cost of living. 

The city’s food delivery program is trying to support families with no other option. Red Cross has set up a call centre to assess the needs of people wanting to take part in the program. They send volunteers to deliver food baskets that contain several days worth of non-perishable groceries like canned goods, pasta and rice. 

The Red Cross call centre can be reached at 1-833-204-9952. You can call on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

Am I eligible for the food delivery program?

A client care team member will ask you some questions to determine if you’re eligible to have food delivered. 

Keep in mind that to be eligible, you:

  • Must live in Toronto and have a postal code that begins with “M”;
  • Must be self-isolating because you’ve recently travelled outside of Canada, have symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or are over 70-years-old
  • Cannot access grocery stores or community food programs like food banks;
  • Have no family or friends who can deliver groceries to you

What other resources are available?

If you’re not eligible for the food delivery program, or you don’t live in Toronto, there may be other services and programs that help you get access in your region.

211 Ontario has a list of resources you may want to check-out, including: 

  • Free or low-cost meals
  • School meal programs
  • Food delivery, including for special dietary needs
  • Food banks and referrals
  • Food access for seniors and people with disabilities 
  • Programs that help you grow/pick your own food