It is hard to believe we are more than 5 months into this global pandemic. One thing that has become noticeably clear over this time, is that marginalized communities have been hit hardest. Not only with higher numbers of the virus, but also access to services and basic needs. The glimmer of hope has been an amazing swell of community supports and advocacy that have been responding with strength. I would like to tell you a little bit about some of those efforts that I have been involved in.
I have been volunteering with Project Giveback, which is an initiative of Kitchen 24 and with the Friendly Neighbourhood Hotline.
The Friendly Neighbourhood Hotline is a service that allows seniors to call into a central number and provide a grocery shopping list. The call centre then reaches out to a pool of volunteers, divided up by neighbourhoods, to find a volunteer to do the shop and delivery the groceries. I’ve been one of those shoppers. I’ll get the list and the senior’s information, do their shop and drop it off to them. Given how expensive and the long waits of some commercial grocery delivery services, this option has been a huge help to seniors, on fixed incomes, who would be very much at risk doing their own shopping.
Project Giveback utilized a commercial kitchen (Kitchen 24) where it accepts food donations and then turns them into prepared meals that go out to a wide range of community agencies including youth shelters, food banks and community agencies. My 14-year-old son, Hayden has been volunteering with me at Kitchen 24. We have been learning from Chefs that also volunteer there, on cutting techniques and how to come up with very creative dishes based on the donations received. We have been going twice a week and work with a small team of fellow volunteers to prepare and pack roughly 500 meals daily.
Doing these very tangible things to help with something so basic, as food to eat, has really helped us feel productive and useful. These are crazy times, so anything we can do to help ourselves and each other goes a long way.