OVFB Newsletter: April 2011
Spring has gotten off to a rousing start here at the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank. First of all, we would like to wish a Happy Spring to all of you along with a Happy Naw-Ruz to our Persian friends and a Happy Holi to all of our supporters in the Hindu community as well. Indeed, spring has sprung--but don’t put away the parka and boots just yet!
Speaking of spring, the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank has kicked off its “Fill the Fridge Spring Food Drive”. The “Fill the Fridge Spring Food Drive” began on March 21st and will continue until June 21st. This is a critical time of year for us because this is when we receive many new clients who need assistance. In fact, according to a recent report from the Ontario Association of Food Banks, 402,000 Ontarians rely on food banks so we continue to need your support. If you would like to make a donation, please check out our donation page for more details.
At the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank, we do more than just give out nutritious food and I want to take a few moments to focus on some examples from the last month which highlight the other services that we provide.
Early in March, a young man contacted us because he was under house arrest and had no means of supporting himself. The Director of the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank and I are trained counselors, and we provided intensive counseling for this young man along with arranging for him to apply for Ontario Works financial support. As a result of our assistance, this client was released from house arrest and is now volunteering with us. He wanted us to tell you, our newsletter readers, that he feels great about the services that we provide and that he feels less stressed out and can now live normally.
Another client also came forward and wanted us to tell you her story as well. She came to the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank initially to register to receive food, but it turned out that there was another problem. She had applied for Ontario Works but had not received any word about the status of her application. What made the situation harder was that there were significant language barriers. So we contacted the Social Services office on her behalf and the very next day, this client received her Ontario Works cheque! This client came to receive some food later that same week, and she told us how happy she felt.
Another group of people that we have been assisting are some of the Tamil migrants who came to Canada on board the ship the MV Sun Sea last year. To date, the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank has provided clothing, food, settlement counseling and intensive personal counseling to 100 of these refugees. Some have even come forward to volunteer with us as they are very pleased with the help that they have received.
It is stories like these, that make what we do at the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank so worthwhile and we appreciate feedback from our clients and all those who are connected to us in any way. Your stories and feedback tell us how we’re doing and how we can improve, so feel free to speak up anytime.
On a further note, we have several students from George Brown College, Seneca and Sheridan College (Brampton Campus) from the Social Service Worker, Community Work and Personal Support Worker Programs doing their placement hours with us. We have been taking placement students from the various colleges since 2009, and it’s been a great learning experience for all of us! If you are a student and are required to complete placement hours for your program, please feel free to contact us. We also have students from the local high schools volunteer with us as well.
We are also involved with the Associated Youth Services of Peel in their Diversion Program. Young people who have been in trouble with the law can now do their Community Services hours with us. We have been involved with Diversion Programs in the past, and it has always worked out well for us. We believe that it is important to provide opportunities to young people, even if they have been in trouble with the law. By providing a supportive atmosphere, it is less likely that they will reoffend.
Our Food Handling Certificate Program is still ongoing and those who have taken the course with us are getting jobs quickly. Out of 30 graduates, 20 have gotten jobs so far! If you would like to register for the course or would like more information, please click here.
On a final note, we continue to keep Japan in our thoughts. As you may already know, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. The devastation has been overwhelming and we at the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank continue to encourage all of our supporters and friends to consider making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross. Their web site is www.redcross.ca
I hope that this newsletter gives you a broader perspective on what we do at the Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank. It’s fair to say that we love what we do and we always go home with smiles on our faces!
On that note, have a great Spring and see you in May with bells on!
Executive Volunteer Coordinator
Policy Enforcement Officer
Ontario Vegetarian Food Bank
2011 Archives: January Issue | February Issue | March 2011 | April Issue