5 With Drive Food Bank

December 12, 2010

This past weekend we volunteered with 5 With Drive.  It’s a food bank that helps those in need in the York region.  We were there to sort food before it got distributed.  At the beginning, it was just that – sorting food.  But then the lady who runs the program, Anna, gathered us for a brief moment to give us some background and perspective about the clients the food bank helps.  Anna has been doing this for over 20 years and she shared some pretty touching stories.

One example I particularly remember is about a recently new client.  This client is a widow who recently immigrated to Toronto.  She has 8 children…and they all sleep in one tiny room on the floor…no mattress, no room for furniture.  They’ve been in Toronto only a few months, but in that short period of time, they’ve been easily taken advantage of and marginalized.  Not knowing their rights, the school that should have been their “home” school, sent them to another location further away where the kids had to walk an hour to get there (without money for bus fare).  Her eldest child is over 20, but him and several of her eldest kids were ALL put into grade 9 so they could “prove themselves”.  When Anna asked what she could do to help, all they wanted was a pair of gloves to help keep them warm during the walk to school and some blankets to keep them warm at night…the requests can be so simple…Anna and her own family (it’s a family run operation) has been doing all they can to help this widow and her family.  Thank goodness for wonderful people like that.  They went out and bought them coats, they gave them boots and blankets…this was just one example…

By the time the “intro” was done, I was in tears.  Sorting food after that became more than just putting cans in their right location…it felt purposeful!  My body kicked into high gear and I was working faster too…I felt I had to do more and the couple hours I had planned to spend at 5 With Drive seemed insufficient.  Which is why I know we’ll be back.

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