Located at Dundas and Bathurst, the FYFB serves 1100 clients each month (40% are immigrants and refugees, 15% are children, and 18% are seniors). Open six days a week, it is a bustling community, but hot meals and food hampers are hardly where the help ends: “We opened our doors to give out food, but we ended up giving out clothes, hugs…[we gave] community. The only thing we don’t give here is a sense of purpose in life, and sometimes people even find a little bit of that! It’s a full-spectrum shop,” says Sean, a volunteer who used to be a FYFB client.
I visited the food bank during a busy weekday lunchtime, and it was busier than any restaurant on the Dundas West strip. “Ever see what organized chaos looks like?” Laughed one volunteer, who was instructing other volunteers to lend a hand packing food boxes or head to the back to unload food.
“I’m basically a runner,” says Michelle, a social services co-op student who started her placement with FYFB in January. “I run from the kitchen hamper to unload the truck and make sure intake has everything they need, but I also make a point to build relationships with the clients. I get numerous hugs; it’s a welcoming place.”
Having been a teenage mom, Michelle has endured her own struggles and understands that many clients need more help than a plate of hot food. “I’ve done a numerous amount of advocating since I’ve been here.”
In the thirty minutes I’m there, I begin to hear life stories all around me. I ask Sean what he has learned since he began using FYFB, and what he wants to share with fellow Torontonians: “Every dented can has good stuff inside it; that can be said about people and products. Everyone’s got a place in a place like this.”
With Lucky Ball raising 20% of the annual operating budget for Fort York Food Bank, this is a charity ball that truly gives back.
Grab your last-minute tix at luckyball.ca and follow along with @fyfoodbank #Luckyball2017