Proper nutrition is vital to long-term survival with HIV and AIDS. The Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA) understands the importance of nutrition for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially those living on a limited budget or dealing with health challenges. To respond to their needs, PWA offers two food programs: the Essentials Market and Food for Life. Each week over 200 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS receive food from our food programs.
The PWA Essentials Market is the only food bank in Toronto that exclusively serves people living with HIV/AIDS. See Essentials Market hours. Clients can access the Essentials Market two times in a month. The Essentials Market offers (depending on availability) staple food items such as bread, milk, fresh produce, cereal, canned goods and baking supplies, as well as pet food.
We do our best to cater to special needs: we have a family box and baby items, and we're happy to accommodate special diets based on what we have available.
If you have any questions about this program, contact the Food Programs Coordinator.
Food for Life
The Food for Life program is a meal delivery program for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS who cannot shop and prepare their own meals. It ensures that those recovering from an AIDS-related illness or those experiencing mobility restrictions receive one prepared meal every day-providing a stable source of nutrition. Each week over 100 people living with HIV/AIDS receive Food for Life meals. It is the only meal program in Toronto to exclusively serve people living with HIV/AIDS.
Food for Life is a fee-for-service program, with clients paying a nominal amount to access the service. PWA pays the balance of the cost for meals. Fees are based on income, and no one is denied the service due to financial hardship.
If you have any questions about this program, contact the Food For Life Coordinator.
The Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and Mid-Toronto Community Services act as co-leads for Food for Life.
Changes to the Food For Life Program
Weekly Menu Submission
Here are the guidelines for the weekly menu submission:
- Menus must be submitted every Friday by 12pm.
- If you do not submit a menu by that time, you will not receive an order for the following week.
- Please be sure to indicate on your menu which 7 entrees or 5 entrees and a combination of 5 desserts and soups you want.
Pick-Up Times for Food for Life orders
Food for Life orders can only be picked-up during designated pick-up times. The Food Programs Liaison person, and Food for Life volunteers will be on-site during pick-up times to assist you.
Here are the guidelines for the new pick-up times:
- Food for Life orders can on be picked-up only on Wednesdays from 4pm - 7pm and Thursdays from 12pm - 4pm.
- If you do not pick-up your Food for Life order during these pick-up times, a new order will not be submitted for you for the following week regardless of whether you submitted a new menu.
You are also welcome to have your Food for Life meals home delivered.
For more information, please contact contact the Food For Life Coordinator.
The Food For Life Program is generously funded with key support from the AIDS Community Action Program of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Essentials Market program is generously funded with key support from a Community Services Partnerships Grant, City of Toronto and the AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health & Long Term Care.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When & where is the Essentials Market available?
- The Essentials Market is located at 194 Gerrard Street East. See Essentials Market hours.
- If I am a single parent or have a family, will I be able to receive more food?
- Each parent with full custody of one or more children under the age of 18 years can receive a family box. This box is filled with snacks, juice boxes and other things suitable for children. We also place a staples hamper in each family box. The staples hamper contains lentils, beans, rice and tomato paste. If you have a baby we will also supply you with baby food, baby cereal, baby formula and other supplies when available.
- Does the Essentials Market cater to personal food choices (eg. vegetarian/vegan, cultural, low carb)?
- If you let us know that you have dietary restrictions or personal food choices we are happy to accommodate you based on what we have available.
- How do I donate food to the Essentials Market?
- You can donate to the Essentials Market at any time. Contact the Food Programs Coordinator to make arrangements to drop of your donation, or simply drop off your donation at the PWA office.
- We also welcome cash donations. They allow us to buy products in bulk when we experience shortages. When we buy in bulk your dollar stretches further than purchasing a few items from the grocery store.
- Can someone else pick up for me from the Essentials Market if I am unable?
- You must give permission to someone else to pick up on your behalf. You can do this by obtaining and signing a permission form for a maximum of one month or by contacting the Food Programs Coordinator to make arrangements.