Celebrity chef Roger Mooking and deli king Zane Caplansky are extending February’s Hero Day for the entire month in an effort to help Toronto’s Second Harvest raise more money for its food provider service. And they are not the only ones. Some 150 restaurants and other businesses are chipping in to help Second Harvest mount its annual hunger awareness campaign.
Hero Day, Feb. 4, not only marks the launch of the organization’s annual workplace fundraiser but hundreds of “Second Harvest Heroes,” wearing bright green masks and capes, will spread out across Toronto to collect donations from commuters at TTC stations, PATH locations and local businesses.
Since 1985, Second Harvest has been picking up donated, surplus food and delivering it to community agencies in Toronto. Currently, it delivers to more than 220 social service agencies, according to its web site.
“We love supporting Second Harvest,” Caplansky tells Samaritanmag. “For a deli looking for ways to give back, I just love what they do. Feeding hungry people with food from restaurants and grocery stores? It's a no brainer. And it's never been my style to just show up for the day. We go over the top. Above and beyond. Hence the whole month.”
Caplansky’s is running a special for their Fresser sandwich, donating $1 for each $15.95 throughout February.
Mooking, the one-time Bass Is Base musician, is donating $1 from the sale of every order of mussels his Twist by Roger Mooking restaurant sells in February at its Pearson Airport Terminal 1 location.
On Hero Day, Second Harvest sends out hundreds of green hero-attired volunteers in masks and capes to solicit public donations from such high-traffic locations as the TTC, the underground shopping district the PATH and various other spots. Some businesses are running specials on Hero Day, while others, like Caplansky’s and Twist, extend the fundraising initiative.
“Canadians waste over $31 billion of food yearly, while children, adults and seniors go hungry,” said Debra Lawson, Second Harvest’s executive director, in a statement. “On Hero Day, the Toronto community will come together to make a difference in the lives of approximately 265,000 Torontonians experiencing hunger.”
The Second Harvest hunger fight will involve almost 150 organizations — a 50 percent increase from 2015 — and “is a testament to the compassionate and generous nature of our community,” said Lawson.
Other vendors that are kicking in similar specials for Hero Day alone, include Buster’s Sea Cove, which will donate $2 for every fried haddock on a bun sold on that day, and Chocolate by Wickerhead, which will donate all proceeds of its $1 hot chocolate.
Windup has gotten an early start, donating $1 from every brunch dish sold between Jan. 14 and Feb. 4. They have also promised to match any additional customer donations.
From Feb. 1-7, Salad King will round up all its customer bills and donate the difference to Second Harvest, but more generously will donate all proceeds to the cause on Hero Day.
Signs Restaurant and Bar will donate $1 from each burger and chicken panini sold between Feb. 16-20, and match the total amount raised at the end of the 20th.
A little outside the Second Harvest campaign window is a pub crawl set for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Those who purchase a superhero t-shirt can bypass lines as seven of the GTA’S Irish pubs, with t-shirt proceeds donated to the charity. Participating ale houses include Brazen Head, Pour House Pub & Kitchen, Pogue Mahone, Murphys Law, Foggy Dew, Watermark and Dominion Pub and Kitchen.
Below are just some of the Second Harvest activities taking place throughout February:
- TTC Takeover: Second Harvest Heroes will be in select TTC stations on Hero Day from 6:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. accepting donations for food rescue.
- Caplansky’s: Caplansky’s will donate $1 for every Fresser sandwich sold during the month of February.
- Salad King: From February 1–7, Salad King will round up all bills. Salad King will also donate all food sales on Hero Day.
- Buster’s Sea Cove: Buster’s Sea Cove will donate $2 for every fried haddock on a bun sold on Hero Day.
- Signs Restaurant and Bar: Between February 16–20, Signs Restaurant and Bar will donate $1 from each burger and chicken panini sold. Signs will also match the final amount raised.
- Chocolate by Wickerhead: On February 4, Chocolate by Wickerhead will sell hot chocolate for $1. All proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest.
- Windup: From January 14–February 4, Windup will donate $1 from every brunch dish sold. Windup will also match any additional customer donations.
- Fab Concepts: On St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17, when you purchase a superhero t-shirt, you can bypass the line at seven of the GTA’s top Irish pubs. T-shirt proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest. Participating restaurants include Brazen Head, Pour House Pub & Kitchen, Pogue Mahone, Murphys Law, Foggy Dew, Watermark, Dominion Pub & Kitchen.
- Twist by Roger Mooking: Next time you fly, visit Twist by Roger Mooking in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Chopped Canada judge’s restaurant will donate $1 from the sales of mussels for the entire month of February.