Tag Archive: referrals

  1. A Chance to Rebuild

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    Guest Blog by Daffodil Davis

    When you lose everything, where do you turn?

    Each and every day in the food bank I meet people from all walks of life.  Each with their own story to tell.  But even though the story is different, we all have a similar goal in life… to take care of our families.

    I first met Layla when I was working at Oriole Food Space in North York.  She moved to Canada with her family to seek refuge from a home that was no longer safe.

    “Everything was gone. Our home, our jobs, our kids couldn’t go to school anymore. We were scared,” she shared with me.

    She came to Canada and was able to reconnect with members of her extended family already living in our community. Layla and her family were overjoyed with the chance to start anew after a life of uncertainty and fear. “My kids were enrolled in school and my husband was working in a restaurant. It finally seemed as though things were turning around for us.”

    But then the unexpected happened. Her husband suffered a severe heart attack and could no longer work at his restaurant job to support the family.

    Once again, Layla felt like she had lost everything. She had to make sure that her kids had a roof over their head and food in their bellies.  Unsure of how to support her family, she turned to one of her new neighbours for advice.  They told her about her local food bank.  She didn’t even know that such places existed in our community to help her and others in need.

    Because of YOUR support, we are able to help people like Layla to make sure that they have access to nutritious food.  Thank you for making a difference!

    Daffodil and OFS Volunteers

    Daffodil and OFS Volunteers

    We are also able to help with referrals for other community programs to assist newcomers with their language skills, resume building and child care. 

    Layla had lost many things, but it doesn’t have to mean that it is lost forever. “Because of the food bank, I was able to feed my kids, feel safe and build a new life. I am so grateful.” 

    Together we can help people in need rebuild what was lost.

    As we enter into the coldest months of winter, the food bank shelves will begin to empty.  We need your help to ensure that when families like Layla’s come to the food bank, there will be enough food to share.

    Please give generously today to keep food on our shelves so our neighbours can feed their families. Give today so that this winter none one goes hungry.

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  2. Connecting Through Food

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    Shirah Stern

    Guest blog by Shirah Stern, Development Associate Corporate Giving

    Did you know that there are free toy lending libraries in North York?  Or literacy programs to prepare children for school? I sure didn’t before I went to visit Weston Area Emergency Services (WAES).  WAES is a food bank that falls under the NYH umbrella offering emergency food hampers to people in need.  It was there I met volunteer Marlene Jones.  And she sure taught me a lot about community services I didn’t even know existed!

    mjonesMarlene has been volunteering with WAES for almost a year now.  After retiring, Marlene wanted to give back because she personally felt grateful for the education and career that she has had in her life.  Her passion for health and nutrition naturally led her to a volunteer program that helps people in her neighbourhood access the food they need.  “Having access to good food is so important for family health,” she told me. “It’s also important that members of our communities are aware of programs to support people regardless of their personal income or background. Especially if they have kids.”

    With four young children, I often wonder why kids don’t come with a manual.  We all want to be the best parent that we can and these free resources are a huge helping hand for many that don’t have a ready support network.

    As a retired public health nurse, Marlene informs clients of nearby programs that they didn’t know they had access to.  These range from parenting programs and educational tutoring to newcomer workshops and recreational activities.  And these are available for anyone in the city. Because Marlene shares her knowledge, these families know where they can go to make their lives just a little bit easier.

    Marlene shared the joy she feels being able to assistant clients with their food needs and help them get other supports they need.  Young, single mothers come to the food bank to put food in their bellies, and walk out with information about summer camp their children can attend.  A man struggling with being laid off from work will come in to get extra items for dinner and leave with the number of a service to help him update his resume.  There are so many other examples of people in your neighbourhood that benefit from these programs.

    Referral services and connections are part of what makes food banks so important to our community.  I have worked at NYH for many years and I didn’t even know that some of these programs were available (toy lending library??!!).  And working in the social service sector, if I wasn’t aware, I can imagine many other families in our city that could really use these services aren’t aware of them either.  Sharing is caring.

    I really admire the generosity and thoughtfulness of Marlene and other volunteers at WAES – they truly demonstrate the value of volunteering and helping others in the community. “It takes a village to raise a child,” share Marlene.  And she enjoys being a part of it.

    Families in our city are accessing programs that are helpful because of connections made in the food bank.  It is because of you that we are able to make connections like this happen. Thank you for being part of our village.

    Each day many volunteers put their time and heart into making a difference in the community through volunteering.  If you are interested in volunteering with us please contact us – we’d love to have you join the team!




    Want to know more about free programs offered in the city?  Call Toronto Health Connections at 416-338-7600 or 211 to access community resources for anyone.