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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Mealshare Exists

Our dream is to sit in a rocking chair one day and explain to our grandkids that youth hunger used to be a major problem in our world, but isn’t anymore. It would be incredible if at that point, our grandkids couldn’t even believe us, because the world they lived in didn’t struggle with youth hunger at all.

Currently, more than 1.2 million children in Canada suffer from food insecurity. Globally, nearly 150 million children under 5 are estimated to be stunted, or too short for their age, with 45 million considered to be wasted, or too thin for their height.

We know that solving youth hunger will require massive systemic change, with many organizations and people working towards it. Our goal is to inspire and enable millions of people to join in the fight to end youth hunger!

How Mealshare Works

Mealshare partners with restaurants, and places our logo next to a few menu items. When a customer orders a ‘Mealshare Item’, they get their meal, just like normal. And, we also provide one simple, healthy meal to a youth in need! Buy one, give one – it’s that simple!

For each meal sold, restaurants contribute $1.00 to Mealshare. Most of those funds are provided to our partner charities to provide a meal to a youth in need on our behalf. The remaining amount is used to operate our program and raise awareness of youth hunger. See here for a full breakdown of how funds are used.

Why does Mealshare support youth?

At Mealshare, we believe that everyone deserves the right to eat. Unfortunately, youth are often the most vulnerable. Without proper nutrition in the early years, youth can face a lifetime of physical, mental and social health issues. With nearly 1 in 5 Canadian children living in food insecure households, we choose to support youth today, to help them break the cycle of poverty and become healthy, happy members of the community tomorrow.

All of our partner charities support youth, though each may define youth slightly differently. From a girl in second grade at an elementary school in inner city Vancouver, to a 3-year-old in rural Venezuela, to a 21-year-old woman living on the streets in downtown Ottawa – our meals are an important step in helping all young people reach their full potential.

Why do Restaurants Participate? What is in it for them?

Our partner restaurants care deeply about their communities and the well-being of those less fortunate than themselves. They choose to partner with Mealshare to make an impact and give back in a way that fits their business – sharing wholesome meals with people! Our restaurant partners also have the opportunity to volunteer at our local partner charities to help prepare & serve meals, too! It’s a great way for restaurant staff to see first-hand the impact a simple, nutritious meal can have!

Joining Mealshare helps our restaurants build deeper connections with their staff and their community. We hope you will fiercely support our partners, and continue to enjoy their delicious food knowing that they care about not only their own business, but also for the community and world they live in.

How do I know money really goes to feed others?

At Mealshare, we believe it is our responsibility to be open and honest with our partners and the Mealshare community. We have signed contracts from each of our partner charities confirming that our funds will be used to provide meals. We also receive annual Giving Confirmation Reports from our partner charities in each of our major cities that outlines how many meals were served because of Mealshare. These giving reports are made available to partner restaurants both to ensure our commitment to transparency and confirm the impact their partnership has made. In addition, we have a Board of Directors that oversees our operations and ensures responsibilities are being met.

If you have additional questions, please reach out to us at info@mealshare.ca.

What if I want to donate a meal but don’t want one of the Mealshare items?

Mealshare accepts online donations to help grow our program – click here!

Plus, you can choose to “Make It A Mealshare” at many of our partner restaurants, simply by adding $1 to your bill. As always, you can support us by telling your friends about Mealshare on social media or encouraging restaurants to be part of the program. Tag us in your photos @Mealshare on Instagram, or @MealshareTeam on Facebook!

What do the Meals Look Like?

We provide meals through charities in 385 communities across Canada, ranging from school breakfast and lunch programs, to after-school clubs, and youth homeless shelters. Meals at each of these charities tend to look a little different, and have a different meal cost depending on local programming and needs. Generally, the local meals we provide are simple – typically child-sized portions using basic ingredients. As an example, a typical lunch at one of our long-time charity partners includes a sandwich, cut vegetables, a piece of fruit, and a snack. At another charity partner, a meal will often be a warm bowl of soup with a piece of bread. Internationally, the meals that we provide through Save the Children are provided to children suffering from moderate or Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). These meals are a blend of ingredients specifically designed to treat SAM in youth, and are referred to as RUTF (or ready-to-use therapeutic food).

 

How are the Meals Funded?

What we love about Mealshare is that you know that one meal is provided for every one meal purchased.

Behind the scenes, it’s just as simple. Restaurants contribute $1.00 to Mealshare for each Mealshare Item ordered. For every dollar we receive from restaurants, 70¢ goes directly towards providing meals for youth in need through our charity partners. The remaining funds are used to raise awareness of youth hunger in Canada, and run Mealshare.

Meals are provided through our network of 385 charity partners across Canada. We are also proud to provide meals internationally through Save the Children Canada. Our funds are used to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food to children under 5 in Venezuela.

By working with both local charity partners (where meals tend to cost more than $1.00), and an international charity partner (where meals cost much less than $1.00), that’s all it takes to provide a meal to a youth in need! Amazing, right?

See for more information.