Filling hungry tummies to ensure brighter futures

Did you know that food insecurity is a growing epidemic affecting one out of six children in Canada? It’s true. Statistics show that over 4 million people, including 1.15 million children are affected by food insecurity. Experts say that the answer to the problem is not to simply give someone food, but to give them the ability to earn a higher income. Going to bed with an empty tummy leads to improper sleep, which makes being ready to learn the next day all the more difficult. If a higher income is only earned through education, and learning is impossible if a child’s basic needs are not met, how are we helping Canada’s future by neglecting its coming generations?

We at Feeding Canadian Kids nourish and nurture children by providing a healthy dinner. This is paramount to learning and creating brighter futures, thus, ending the cycle of poverty.


Unfortunately, Canada is currently the only G8 country without a national meal program in its schools. There are a handful of privately funded organizations that provide breakfasts and snacks for children in Canada, but none with a focus on dinner. Feeding Canadian Kids aims to fill the dinner gap with nutritious kid-friendly meals.

Feeding Canadian Kids will begin with a pilot, serving 10 after-school programs and then gathering stakeholder feedback and creating a national expansion strategy. Since over 1 million children in Canada go to bed with empty tummies, we will begin with the most vulnerable communities in each province’s capital and expand our reach as we scale our operations across the country.

    Feeding Canadian Kids is a federally incorporated non profit organization. We feed hungry Canadian kids dinner to fill their tummies so they sleep well, leading to success in school and healthy futures.
    Over 1 million Canadian children face food insecurity each day...this is shocking and unacceptable.
    With our passion fuelled and our strong network of partners, we believe that Canadians can work together to distribute food to those less fortunate.
    We recognize and applaud the many groups feeding undernourished children breakfast and lunch. Our goal is to complement this work by filling the dinner gap with a healthy, kid-friendly meal to ensure continued nourishment and a good night’s sleep, thereby increasing their ability to learn, participate and succeed.

Our Directors and Advisory Board Members

John Young, Chairman

John Young is the Chief Executive Officer of Boat Rocker Media, a global entertainment company that creates, produces and distributes premium content and brands for all platforms; producing shows such as Orphan Black, The Next Step, Being Erica, Killjoys, Say Yes to the Dress Canada, MasterChef Canada, X Company, and Lost & Found Music Studios.

Mr. Young previously served in various roles for the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System pension fund (OMERS), including Managing Director of OMERS Private Equity. Mr. Young serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. He also sits on the Advisory Committee of Cara. He has served on the Board of Sir Corp, the Advisory Board of ONEX Partners L.P., and on the Executive Committee of Covenant House for five years.

John’s proven passion for helping at-risk youth fulfill their potential and his connection to our founding partners, Cara and UberEats, make him an invaluable leader of Feeding Canadian Kids.

Jessica Roelink, Executive Director

Jessica Roelink, Charity Founder and former Executive Director at Dress for Success Toronto & Dress Your Best charities, began her life journey of serving those less fortunate back in 2000. Jessica has received both the Volunteer of the Year Award from the City of Toronto and Flare magazine’s Canadian National Volunteer Award, however she insists that the very people she helps inspire her and that her volunteers drive her achievements. Jessica also received a nomination for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award and a nomination for Toronto’s Top 40 Under 40.

As a teenager, Jessica went from volunteer of the month to Director of Operations at a local clothing bank, and by her early twenties was turning professional clothing into a charitable movement. In 2001, Jessica founded her own charity using her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for volunteering as tools to garner success for almost twenty years in the non-profit sector. Although Jessica originally studied Construction Engineering, she never entered into the construction industry as she was too busy building a great charity that today, continues to improve the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Canadians.

Gina Faturos, Secretary & Treasurer

Gina Faturos is a Case Worker with the Ontario Disability Support Program. As she works directly with persons in need and is a busy working mother, Gina’s specialty with Feeding Canadian Kids will be ensuring we keep the needs of the children, their families and communities our top priority. Having received a BA in Psychology from York

University, Gina built a successful career in Marketing and Communications working for various companies including Coffee Time, TELUS and Altis Human Resources. Gina’s dynamic career path and her passion for helping others lead her to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, supporting the most vulnerable Ontarians.

Gina has also served as a volunteer Board Member of the Playhouse Childcare Centre and has witnessed first-hand the need to combat child hunger. As a founding Board member of the Live to Give Relief Organization, Gina has always made time to volunteer as a Director in the areas of Fundraising and with her strong organizational skills she will be our Board’s Secretary and Treasurer. Gina realized when she became a mother that being a good role model was crucial to her children’s development and to better serve underprivileged Canadians.

Todd Minerson, Director of Communications and Brand at Unicef Canada

Todd Minerson has spent the past 14 years working in gender justice, HIV/AIDS prevention, anti-poverty work, housing and homelessness, and with at-risk youth. In all of these experiences he has seen the complex and negative effects of violence and harmful masculinities on the lives of too many people.Todd has presented and delivered workshops on engaging men in ending violence against women for the UN, as well as working with governments and agencies in Brazil, Austria, Turkey, Cape Verde, and Sri Lanka.

As Executive Director of the White Ribbon Campaign, he was also one of the co-chairs of the Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality in Rio de Janeiro in March 2009. His life’s commitment to social justice was instilled while studying at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where he obtained an Honours history degree with a concentration in gender studies and social change movements.

Marilyn Emery, President & Chief Executive Officer, Women’s College Hospital

For more than two decades, Marilyn Emery has produced outstanding results for some of Ontario’s leading health-care organizations. Since 2007, Marilyn has been guiding Women’s College Hospital through some of the most innovative and exciting changes in its 100-year history: its evolution into Canada’s pre- eminent academic ambulatory hospital dedicated to women’s health. That means delivering a revolutionary model of care

designed to keep people out of hospital. This bold vision includes not only creating a new state-of-the-art hospital through a $425-million redevelopment project, but also recreating the hospital’s public identity through a pioneering re-branding campaign. Her career-long record of leadership and innovation in health-care organizations has garnered national recognition. Marilyn has twice been honoured as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 – in the inaugural year of the award in 2003, and again in 2010.

As CEO of the Central East Local Health Integration Network, Marilyn led the planning, coordination and integration of health-care services reaching 1.4 million people. At St. Joseph’s Health Centre, she not only transformed the hospital’s nancial and business performance, but also transformed the patient experience, attaining the greatest improvement in patient satisfaction ever achieved by an Ontario hospital. As president and CEO of Markham Stouffville Hospital, Marilyn oversaw the construction of a new 220-bed community hospital – on time and under budget.

Marilyn’s leadership, courage and pioneering spirit have made her a popular and inspirational guest speaker and lecturer. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing Education from University of Western Ontario.

Dayna Stein, Food Security and Sustainable Food Systems Consultant

Dayna Stein is a food systems and sustainability planning consultant who has worked extensively with municipalities, universities, public schools, for pro ts, non-pro ts and a First Nation community to do food system planning, impact evaluation research, market research, strategic planning, workshop facilitation, and social enterprise development.

Dayna is a perpetual student and lifelong learner. She focused her academic career on sustainable and socially just food systems and their impact on nutrition, health and community development. She graduated with a Master’s of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability in Sweden.

Dayna was awarded a Lion’s Club Scholarship for her Thesis on cross-sector collaboration around food waste mitigation. Dayna also holds a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems from UBC and is currently pursuing a certi cate from the University of Toronto in Entrepreneurship. In 2015, Dayna partook in a 10-month practicum in agro-ecological farming with The Richmond Farm School. In that same year she became Partner of a social enterprise that diverts wood waste from land lls through up-cycling, while engaging in community outreach on sustainability issues. Based on her active role in its’ creation, Dayna was selected for a RADIUS Fellowship in Radical Doing.

Dayna is an expert in food security, an advocate, and a zero-waste enthusiast. In her spare time, she sits on the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council as co-chair of the networking committee, and before that, the education committee. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Karma Co-op.

Jeremy Walker, Managing Director and Head of TD Securities’ Communications, Media & Technology Group

Jeremy holds a BA Honours in Economics and an MBA from Queen’s University. Jeremy is on the Board of Governors at Havergal College and is responsible for the overall stewardship, including establishing the school’s direction and priorities and overseeing its financial and administrative functions. Jeremy’s professional experience is a valuable asset to Feeding Canadian Kids and as a father of three daughters, he is passionate about feeding children in need.

Lisa Kostakis, Boys & Girls Club Executive Director

Lisa carries a degree in Psychology from York University and a degree in Social Work from Ryerson University. She has been working for over 27 years in the social service sector beginning in Regent Park working with 6 to 24 year old high risk children and youth and their families. Key to her concern is ensuring that the agency provides effective support systems, programs, services, strong role models for children, youth and families, as well as, community capacity building. Furthermore, Lisa is pivotal in developing and sustaining strong partnerships with other community service organizations, and becoming a strong leader in many initiatives such as community safety, accessible services and new partnerships.

Rebecca Waterhouse, Director of Operations, Feeding Canadian Kids

Rebecca Waterhouse has been analyzing a wealth of data on social entrepreneurship and community wealth strategies in the Canadian context for the past five years. This focus has allowed Rebecca to consult with a handful of non profit organizations in the identification of potential earned-income opportunities and translating those ideas into impact aligned, business cases for success. Rebecca has meaningful experience in conducting original and synthesized research, survey design and semi-structured interviews and managing all the associated team logistics. Working closely with advisors, Rebecca prioritizes the creation of a smart work plan that will ensure a measurable impact in the community. Rebecca has recently completed her Master’s Capstone entitled, “Utilizing the SDGs to Develop a Common Impact Framework for Social Enterprise and Social Value Purchasing: A Feasibility Assessment”.

Rebecca mainly spends her energy in all things food r elated, specically supporting sustainable and ethical production and equal access to healthy food options for all Canadians. Rebecca believes this passion and experience aligns naturally with the Feeding Canadian Kids mission. Rebecca holds a degree in Business Administration and International Development Studies from St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, NS), a certificate in Skills for Social Change from the Coady International Institute (Antigonish, NS) has just completed her Masters, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at

Carleton University (Ottawa, ON) and will be leading social enterprise development at the Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre (Toronto, ON).

Danielle Bernier, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at PVH Corp.

Danielle Bernier is a leader, motivator and team player with over 25 years of experience in a variety of organizational settings within the public and private sector. Danielle brings a wide range of experience in strategic planning, leadership, and HR. She has managed the implementation of systems and programs, from the development of the business case to its deployment and ongoing evaluation. Additionally she has coordinated change management plans, employee engagement, consultation mandates and numerous organizational developments.

As a mother of two, Danielle vested countless hours into ensuring her kids and their friends were always properly fed. Danielle wants to offer this same attention in support of the Feeding Canadian Kids mission. Danielle is inspired by our innovative approach to service delivery and excited to offer her guidance to Feeding Canadian Kids in the development of sound, human resource policies.

Words From Our Team

  • “I was alarmed when I learned that 1 in 6 Canadian children face food insecurity every day. I am thrilled to be starting this Canadian charity, and I am confident that our strong network of donors and volunteers will empower us to address this pressing issue.”

    Jessica RoelinkExecutive Director

  • “I want my children to understand that helping people is a privilege and everyone can make the time to volunteer. Even the smallest act of kindness can go a long way.”

    Gina FaturosSecretary & Treasurer