Frequently Asked Questions

Q:   Why did my order get cancelled?
If you place an order without a pick up time, (or if you choose the "no pick up times available" item) your order will be cancelled. 

Q:   Why are there no pick up times available?
 Pick up times are dependent on the availability of volunteers and food donations.  Please do not order if there are no times available.  This results in people showing up expecting to receive an order, and no one being available to serve you. 

Q:   How do I select a pick up time?
A:    We suggest you choose a pick up time (use the menu to access this as an item) and add it to your cart before you select any items.

Q:  Where do I pick up the food?
A:   Food ordered on this site must be picked up in Barrie at 80 Bradford Street, Barrie ON at the Curbside Pick Up stations on the south east end of the building.

Q:   I'd like to make a small donation each time I pickup.  How do I do that?
Thanks for the support!  Small cash donations (under $20) are always appreciated and can be provided directly to the volunteers at pick up.  Please let them know it's a donation for the NMSA, and they will give you an envelope to place the donation in.  Do not simply hand cash to the volunteers.  Larger donations can be sent via etransfer to or by contacting us to make arrangements to receive a cheque.   Please note we are a not for profit co-op, not a charity. 

Q:  If I make a donation - what does that pay for?
Right now all donations are directed to cover basic operating costs such as paper bags (we aren't able to use reusable bags), no-rinse sanitizer for surfaces, and produce bags.  Our rent and telephone costs are being covered by the members of the Canadian Musicians Co-operative, and our volunteers are donating both their time and mileage to pick up the food at donor organizations.  (We would love to be able to receive enough donations to be able to cover their mileage costs.)

Q:   Where does the food come from?  How do you give it away for free?
The NMSA is a "Food Rescue" program which rescues food on a daily basis from corporations that would otherwise be disposing of it.  We rescue, inspect and assess all items, and those which are still suitable for human consumption are listed on the website.  Very few items in Canada have an "expiry date", most have a "best before" date which means they are still consumable when they are de-merchandised. 

Q:   Who is allowed to order food from the site?
Our target demographic is serving the Professional Artistic Community, however we do not turn anyone away if we have extra food available. 

Q:  I just shared the info on my social media and now everyone is asking me questions.  What should I say?  I love your program, and want to help!

It is so disappointing for people to travel to collect a pick up, and learn there is little left for them to actually collect. It may not be worth their gas money to drive in. We are run by a small group of volunteers, and we are very careful to target our advertising to ensure the message is accurate and doesn't let people down.  We've also learned that social media sharing actually wastes more food, and costs us money to dispose of the food that was ordered and not picked up.  Social shares result in hundreds of "first time orders" which take the products out of the system for the people who rely on us weekly, and creates a crisis in the food rescue room, as volunteers are not prepared for a sudden 'surge in activity' and the need to educate so many first timers while completing the planned daily tasks they need to do.  In this case - sharing causes excessive food waste, so we ask that you please refrain from doing this. 

Q:   What proof of income or identity do I have to bring with me to qualify?
The NSMA is an environmental initiative addressing food insecurity with dignity, as such, we do not ask for proof of income.  

NEW As of June 5, 2023 - Government-issued photo ID is required for pick up of your order, due to some people committing fraud by ordering large orders multiple times per week, and making new email addresses and being untruthful about their identity in order to get around our policies for no-shows.

Q:  I can't come to the curbside pick up personally - can I send my ID with someone else?
A:  Unfortunately, due to food safety and security requirements, we can only provide an order to the person who actually ordered the food.  We cannot let friends, family, neighbours, etc pick up for you.   We ARE however piloting a process for credentialed PSW's and Social Workers to show their ID and pick up for their clients. 

Q:    Can I volunteer my time?  
A:     Yes - we love to have volunteers participate in the process.  Secondary students and co-op students are also welcome to inquire.  We do ask that you make a commitment to a regular shift, as the food can't wait around to be sorted when volunteers can't make it at the last minute.  If you are interested in volunteering, please complete this form, and we will let you know when the next trainings are scheduled. 

 How do I select a pick up time?
A:    We suggest you choose a pick up time (use the menu to access this as an item) and add it to your cart before you select any items.

Q:  How often can I order food? 

A:  We ask people to limit their orders to once per week, so we can continue to serve everyone fairly.   Please do not use multiple email addresses or have each person in your household place individual orders to try to "work around" our request for moderation.

Q:   I'd like to order to pick up five days from now, but that day of the week isn't available in the pick up window?   What do I do?
A:   Due to the large volume of people ordering and because rescued food needs to be consumed swiftly, we only book pick up orders for the same or next day to reduce spoilage.

Q:  I ordered and planned to pick up today, but now I can't get there.  What should I do?
A:   Please call us at 705-999-8547, option 8# and let us know so can cancel your order without packing it up,  and we can ensure those items are offered to people picking up today while they are fresh.  If you call in and we cancel the order for you, before its packed, you are welcome to place a second order in the same week. IF you don't cancel in advance it will result in you being banned for a month.  Multiple cancellations without notice will result in a permanent ban, as your improperly cancelled orders resulted in food being thrown out and wasted. 

Q:  What happens if I order and then don't show up?
A:   Unfortunately your items will be restocked where possible, and discarded as necessary.   Multiple "no shows" will result in being blocked from the site. 

Please review our terms and conditions before using the site.  One item we want to ensure you do not miss - you must inspect the food yourself again immediately before you cook or consume it.  You cannot redistribute or sell the food you receive from us.  Additionally please do not attempt to return it to the stores that donated it to us.  The packages are marked so they cannot be returned, and if you do this, it puts future donations to our food rescue in jeopardy.