Tag Archive: friendship

  1. A Community of Food and Friendship

    Comments Off on A Community of Food and Friendship

    Community.  Every day I hear the word.  But what does it mean to be a community?  The dictionary defines it as “a social group whose members reside in a specific locality, share government and often have a common cultural and historical heritage”.  Sure, that’s an okay definition but it also sounds pretty boring right?

    At North York Harvest, we focus on community as part of our mission.  It means more than just a boring definition – it means people coming together to make something incredible happen.  It’s about respect, sharing, thoughtfulness and dignity.

    One such community group in the NYH family has shown those incredible qualities and more.


     I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Norma who resides in Lawrence Heights.  This amazing woman brought her community together and is making a huge impact in the lives of others.  Norma saw a need in her neighbourhood.  She noticed that many of the seniors living in the area survive on very low incomes and, living alone, dealt with fear, depression, rejection and isolation.  She realized that she could make a difference.Norma cooking for Seniors

    From gardening and grocery shopping, to coming for a visit and having a cup of coffee with them, Norma has been volunteering to support seniors in Lawrence Heights for years. 

    George and Norma, delivering a donated walkerwe bring the food to those who cant attend

    Quickly she realized she could bring her community together through the joy of food.  When I asked her why food was so important, she told me, “The isolation these seniors feel can cause malnutrition.  They are depressed and lonely so having them get together for a meal nourishes more than their bodies, it nourishes their hearts.  I try to put myself in their shoes.  I hope there is a program for me when I am that age.”

    With the help of her neighbours, she put together a social lunch on Mondays for the seniors in her community.  She reached out to NYH for food support – and because of your generosity, we were able to provide the ingredients for these meals. They were provided with fresh produce, meat, dairy and canned goods.  Your support has also given them the opportunity to start a Wednesday coffee club as well as put on a couple of community barbecues.

    children making the sign for seniorssign made by local childrens group

    I didn’t realize that many of the members of this group suffer from strokes, diabetes, mental illness or do not have the ability to cook for themselves. Norma told me how important the lunches and coffee dates are for seniors to get together in a place that is safe and welcoming. 

    “Many of the residents are afraid of getting out there because of their age, vulnerability, illness, mobility, depression or isolation.  This type of activity gets them out of the house so they can interact with others who understand them.  They feel respected.” This is what building community is really about.

    Chicken Soup dayIMG_20160612_173044

    She told me about the first meal the group had together and they enjoyed chicken noodle soup. They were delighted to enjoy a fresh cooked meal.  “I was almost in tears when a client told me she couldn’t remember the last time she had homemade soup.”  The idea of having a homemade bowl of soup may not seem like much, but to others it can mean the world.

    Chagall and Rodrigo performing for Seniors on Canada DaySeniors dancing during Canada Day BBQ

    As I listened to Norma share, I could hear her passion for these seniors and the role this program plays in their lives.  “At the Canada Day barbecue, one of the seniors known for not being very interactive with others was dancing and having a great time.  Another lady that can barely walk was dancing and holding hands with her son.”

    I asked her how long she’d like to keep this program going – her answer …  FOREVER. Her goal is to continue this program as long as the program has the resources to do so. 

    “We have a social responsibility to our seniors.  We were dependent on our elders as children and one day we will be dependent on others.  Every bit helps. Everyone involved can do wonders.”

    Thanks to your generous support, NYH is able to welcome wonderful initiatives and community programs into our family.  Programs like this prove what a community really is.

    That’s so much more touching than a boring definition.

    To support programs just like this one, please make a gift today!


    Subscribe to Our Enewsletter

    * indicates required


  2. The Gift of Kindness

    Comments Off on The Gift of Kindness

    At this time of year, it feels like more people are showing that extra bit of kindness towards others!  Here at North York Harvest, I see it every day but more so during the winter months.  There is just so much joy and holiday cheer that people have and they want to share it with those around them.

    Don’t you notice the extra bit of kindness at this time of year?  It’s even the smaller things like holding a door for someone or paying that extra 5 cents they need for their morning coffee.  It can make someone’s day just so much brighter.


    Kindness is powerful. It can completely transform your day and that of people around you.

    Did you know the many advantages of kindness?

    Kindness can relieve stress.  Doing something nice for another person makes you feel good.

    “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama

    Kindness is contagious.  Remember that big news story a couple of years ago when people were “Paying it Forward” at the coffee shop?  A person would buy the coffee for the next person in line and that pattern continued for the entire day!  A person can’t help but return the favour when a kindness is bestowed upon them!


    “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” ~Amelia Earhart

    Kindness strengthens relationships. When you perform an act of kindness for another there is just a new unspoken bond between the two of you.  When it is a larger act of kindness among many people – such as sponsoring a refugee in need, a group volunteer activity or running a food drive at work – it brings a sense of community between you, your friends, your coworkers and those that benefit from your kindness.

    “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~Leo Buscaglia

    Kindness can make a difference in someone’s life.  You might not know it, but letting another person go ahead of you in line could be the highlight of his or her day, week or even month.  You never know what someone else could be going through.


    “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”  ~Maya Angelou

    There are just so many random ways that you can show a little extra kindness this holiday season.

    Here are a few ideas:

    • Visiting a retirement home to spend time with someone who is lonely
    • Purchasing a coffee for a stranger
    • Putting some of your extra change in an expired parking meter
    • Shoveling your neighbour’s driveway
    • Send a thank you letter to your local fire and police departments
    • Compliment someone
    • Take a friend to a movie

    Another easy way to share kindness  is to contribute to our make a donation for people in your city that really need it!  Every month over 16,000 children, parents, seniors and people on their own will come into our programs because they don’t have enough food to eat.

    You can make a difference!