By PAULA FLETCHER
COUNCILLOR, WARD 14 TORONTO-DANFORTH
This past year has been difficult and the pandemic has greatly impacted our community.
However, these impacts have not all been negative. The East End has come together in remarkable ways to help those in need, showing strength, resilience and compassion.
Over the winter I put out a call for COVID Community Heroes, asking residents to nominate those who have been making a difference.
I received more than 50 nominations of people and groups who have been doing amazing work throughout the pandemic. I want them to know their kindness and generosity has not gone unnoticed.
Over the next few weeks I will be sending out special Community Hero awards and showcasing their incredible efforts on my social media and website.
Back in March 2020, people swung into action right away. There was a sudden and urgent need for masks and Michael Garron Hospital was also in need of PPE.
Many folks and local businesses offered donations of PPE and an army of “sewists” got to work sewing thousands of masks. The support for our local hospital and our healthcare workers was truly moving.
There was also a great need for donations to our local food banks. Again, staff and volunteers stepped up and our food banks continued to provide necessities to those in need each week.
I’d like to highlight the incredible work of the Bethany Baptist Church Food Bank, Glen Rhodes Food Bank and Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre Food Bank.
There were also many others who provided access to food and fresh meals, including the Sandwich Sisters, the Danforth COVID Emergency Food Response, the Danforth Church, Mustard Seed, St. Ann Parish, St. John the Compassionate Mission and local restaurants.
The Neighbourhood Food Hub quickly pivoted to respond to the pandemic, providing reliable fresh food to community members. Between April and December of 2020, they distributed over 2,233 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables and also over 2,000 ready-to-eat meals to those in need.
I’d also like to give a special shout out to the East York Seniors’ Christmas Dinner volunteers. They transitioned from their annual sit-down event at the East York Community Centre to providing warm meals to over 200 seniors, right to their front doors, safely.
All of these dedicated staff and volunteers helped so many in our community access food and necessities they needed during a difficult period.
The fight against COVID-19 isn’t over and I encourage you to support a local food bank or organization however you can.
I’d also like to thank everyone who helped their neighbours throughout the pandemic.
Many of you have been delivering groceries, booking vaccine appointments, and doing simple things that just spread the #EastEndLove.
We are doing what East Enders do best, taking care of one another.
And the best way that we can continue taking care of one another is by following the public health measures in place and getting vaccinated.
I encourage everyone to get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible.
If you’d like to nominate someone as a COVID Community Hero, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org