Over the past 40 years, thousands of volunteers have passed through the ranks at Beach Metro News. Every issue, over 300 volunteers hit the streets to deliver 30,000 copies to most doors in the Beach, the Birchcliff Bluffs and East Danforth areas.
Volunteers offer up their time for many different reasons; often, when someone has called the paper to ask why there are no papers being delivered on their street, general manager Sheila Blinoff has ended up recruiting the caller to start making deliveries when the latest issue is published every two weeks.
Gladys Kadry is the longest-serving volunteer, and currently drops off 175 newspapers every two weeks on Hillingdon, Currie and Earl Haig Avenues. She has been delivering the paper since day one in March, 1972.
“I’ve been with it all the time,” she said. “I have the same route I started with,” although her route has included other surrounding streets in the past.
Kadry worked as the circulation manager for Ward 9 News when the paper received a government grant in 1973. When the grant ran out, she decided to continue delivering Ward 9, and then Beach Metro News.
“I like the paper, and it gets me out there to meet people,” she said. “I plan to keep on doing it as long as I can.”
Dianne Davison delivers papers on Scarborough Road, and has been a volunteer since the first year in 1972. She got involved along with a group of friends and acquaintances, many of whom are still living in the Beach now. The community aspect of Ward 9 News was what attracted her to the paper in the beginning.
“I believed in community spirit and community networking, to help businesses and people, and I still truly believe in it,” said Davison.
In 1973, when the paper faced tough times, Davison pitched in extra time with the paper, including helping to sell ads. She said it’s been inspiring to meet such a diverse group of volunteers over the years.
“They’re such an eclectic group of people, of all ages,” she said.
Davison has many fond memories of delivering the paper with her dog Muffy, who has since passed away. She said she still enjoys reading the paper, sharing it with colleagues, and has also advertised successfully in the paper. Asked whether she plans to continue delivering Beach Metro, her answer was “as long as I can still ambulate.”
Mary Campbell has been dropping off the paper on Benlamond Avenue since 1974.
“I’ve been delivering the paper since my son was four, and he’s 43,” she said.
An article by former editor Joan Latimer on local history got her interested in the subject, and she ended up writing history articles for Ward 9 News because of the interest that was sparked.
“I got into writing historical articles that way, because I was just getting into the history of my street,” said Campbell.
As with many volunteers, she finds delivery to be a great way to stay in touch with neighbours, and a great way to get to know their dogs as well, she added with a laugh. She said she plans to continue delivering the paper for the foreseeable future.
“I think it serves the community really well. Even though it’s gotten rather large and heavier to carry around, it’s still worthwhile,” said Campbell.
These are just a small handful of the many volunteers who have delivered the paper over the years; unfortunately, space and time means we aren’t able to celebrate everyone, but on behalf of the board and staff of Beach Metro News, and the community it serves, our sincerest thanks goes out to the volunteers who help this non-profit paper continue to thrive.