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Giving back for the holidays

Kirsten recommends three great ways to make good use of your lunch money this holiday season
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Kirsten recommends three great ways to make good use of your lunch money this holiday season
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Judge Foodie has the luxury of dining in some of the best restaurants in this city, and never wants for food — good food at that. There are thousands of people in this city for whom even a decent meal is out of reach. I encourage everyone to take a look at the tally on their last lunch bill and donate that amount to one of the following places:

The Daily Bread Food Bank is perhaps the best-known food program in Toronto. Most of you will be familiar with it through the Law Firm Challenge, which pits law firms against one another in an attempt to raise the most money. The basic idea is that clever articling students devise ways to shake down lawyers for money that the Food Bank will use to feed the needy (in previous years, law firms have raised in the neighbourhood of $250,000 — no small feat). The shakedown tactics are creative and effective. Last week, the articling students in my firm went office-to-office with a coffee cart, serving coffee. Money flew out of wallets (it could have been the spirit of the season, or maybe the top-up with Baileys…hard to say).


The Stop strives to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community and challenges inequality. It does this by providing services like a drop-in, food bank, perinatal program, community action program, bake ovens and markets, community cooking, community advocacy, sustainable food systems education and urban agriculture. For $25 they’ll deliver a food hamper to a hungry family; the best part is that you can make a donation in somebody else’s name and The Stop will send them a card letting them know that you’ve done so. Stress-free gift-giving has never been easier. If that’s not your thing, on December 20, you can join them for Food For Change, a six-course holiday-themed dinner that manages to cover off Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Natale, Yalda, Pancha Ganapati and deep-fried turkey (not sure which culture owns that one). The best part — you can sit down and indulge for $45 — or for $100 you can be part of the kitchen crew.


My personal favourite is Second Harvest since it’s close to my restaurant-loving heart. Second Harvest is in the food rescue business, which is to say they pick up donated, excess food from food retailers, manufacturers, restaurants and caterers (food which would otherwise go to waste) and deliver it to over 215 community agencies in Toronto. They have catchy slogans (“Peas Donate!”) and their big push right now is their Turkey Drive, in partnership with Loblaws — you can buy a turkey to donate, or volunteer another way. For instance, they are looking for volunteers to dress up as turkeys. C’mon…you know you want to.


Kirsten Thompson is a Toronto-based research lawyer and commercial litigator. Since her call to the bar in 2000, she estimates that her restaurant to courtroom ratio has been approximately 14:1. Thoughts? Comments? Ideas for a review? Email her.
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Image: real444 via iStockphoto