Hope for the Holidays

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“It’s really tough and sometimes I can’t sleep at night, but seeing people heal makes it worthwhile.”

That’s what Jan* told me when I asked about her volunteer work at the local women’s shelter.

“I have been a volunteer here for more than 5 years and it never gets easier.  I see women and children who have gone through some traumatic experiences. I try my best to help them through it.  But it takes time.”

Women and children that have come from unthinkable situations often end up in the shelter looking for safety and often a warm meal to comfort them in their time of need. An estimated 5,253 people are staying in a shelter right now in Toronto – all of them in need of a safe space, a bed to sleep in and a warm meal. With partnerships between North York Harvest and local shelters – and YOU – these people in need will be able to fill their stomachs with a healthy meal.

With the holidays on their way, we start thinking about the season with anticipation.  I always have a many thoughts racing through my mind. What kind gifts to get for people? What food am I going to bring to holiday party? Can I go on a vacation this year?  For someone in trouble, someone who is going through a very hard time, those are the last thoughts on their mind.

Brenda* left her abusive husband behind taking her two boys with her.  She found herself without a place to live, food to eat or family to lean on.  It takes an awful lot of courage to pull yourself out of something like that – especially not knowing where your next meal is going to come from.

“I felt like I had lost all hope but I knew that I had to get my boys out of that situation.  I was desperate for somewhere to go.  A shelter wasn’t my first choice but at least I knew that we would be safe and my children would get something warm to eat,” says Brenda.

Now because of you and volunteers like Jan, Brenda is getting the help she needs to make a better life for her and her young boys.  She knows that she isn’t alone in all of this.  She has you.

We may not think of stories like Brenda’s when thinking of the food bank.  But your support of the food bank also benefits shelters, community kitchens, after school and drop in programs.  Over 16,000 people rely on these programs each month and they all have a story to tell.  Your support is helping them tell that story.

“I am incredibly grateful for our partnership with the food bank.  A hot meal may seem like a small thing but it sure can make a big difference to someone that is hungry.  This box of food we’re given is filled with more than food.  It is filled with hope. Hope for people like Brenda and her kids. Hope that they will move past this difficult point in their lives.” Jan explains.

Because of you, so many people that need a helping hand in life can get food and hope.  I just wanted to take the time to thank you for generous support of families in our community.

Nobody should have a holiday without hope.

Please give a generous holiday gift to help people just like Brenda have the food they need to make a fresh start. Together we are making a difference in the lives of thousands of families as they find their path out of poverty.

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