Second Harvest: Good Food for a Good Cause

I had the fortune of being in the vicinity of Yonge-Dundas square yesterday and headed over for the lunch money days campaign which was held in support of Second Harvest, an organization committed to reducing food waste while improving the food security of hundreds if not thousands of people living in Toronto.

Second Harvest ( works closely with food retailers, hotels and restaurants to redistribute food to those in need.  Unlike food banks, they focus on perishables such as fruits, vegetables, meat and cheeses. These foods are often discarded by institutions for a variety of reasons. This has always been a particular issue for me, both as a past food service employee and a dietitian.  Furthermore, perishables  are difficult to attain for many on a restrictive budget, especially in the winter due to cost and transportation issues,  and are often the first omitted in efforts to control household spending.

Today’s event invited 15 or so vendors who volunteered their time and food to raise money for this worthy cause.  Famed Toronto chef Mark McEwan was on hand to promote this event which I understand is near and dear to his heart.  I spoke with him for a few minutes and found him to be a humble and inspiring individual….and he let me take a picture.

.Second Harvest advocate Mark McEwan

Second Harvest advocate Mark McEwan

Caplansky’s Deli

This Toronto icon was serving some of its favorites including the smoked meat sandwich with a pickle which I topped with some great hot mustard.  The meat was tender and the bread was fresh. It was a traditional and classic few bites.

The maple and beef-bacon donuts were a sweet finish to the small meal.  It had old school texture and was the size of an overgrown timbit.  The bacon added a wee bit of salt and texture.

Caplansky's Smoked Meat Sandwich with Maple Beef-Bacon Donuts
Caplansky’s Smoked Meat Sandwich with Maple Beef-Bacon Donuts


This mysterious  pop-up was present at the event as well, offering a hot chicken masa ball soup brilliantly topped with chicharron (dried chicken skin).  The sight of the clear broth steaming from Le Creuset was music to all my senses, offering relief from the nasty February elements.


Rock Lobster

Once again, RL as solid as rock, putting up a tasty lobster  bisque and a lobster roll for tasting.  Both were as delicious as their offerings at their Ossington location.  They did tease me with a copy of their drink menu which left me longing for another taste of their Iginla Fizz..or maybe a lobster tail Caesar.

Rock Lobster Bisque and Roll
Rock Lobster Bisque and Roll

Sullivan and Bleeker

Bite size cupcakes in four flavors graced the Sullivan and Bleeker tent.  I opted for the smore and red velvet options although the oreo and cookie dough choices were equally as appealing.

Sullivan and Bleeker Cupcakes
Sullivan and Bleeker Cupcakes

My Take

The lunch money days campaign is a win-win-win-win etc.  Great local eateries peddle their wares and fares to new and interested diners.  These diners get to experience a mish-mash of creativity in bite-size portions.  Most important, second harvest gets  much needed exposure and a financial boost to carry on with their important cause.


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