By ANSON WONG
Seema David recently won the ScarbTOHero Award for the work she does with her food bank, 5n2 Food for All Kitchen, a non-profit organization that serves 3,500 meals a week to those in need.
The award is presented to those who have served the Scarborough community in significant ways. David won the Community Action and Service Hero Award.
“This award recognizes those who set up and/or ran food banks, shelters, masks and other personal protective equipment distribution in the Scarborough community,” The ScarbTOHero website said.
It was created as part of a collaboration between Centennial College, Scarborough Health Network, Toronto Zoo, and University of Toronto Scarborough as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the award, however, David said 5n2 is facing numerous challenges this year. One of those challenges is ensuring local government will continue to fund the program in the coming years.
“It took a pandemic for them to actually give us some money,” said David.
She said COVID-19 has highlighted the need for food banks, and now organizations such as 5n2 are being given grants that they must use within a certain time frame.
These grants have allowed 5n2 to jump start new initiatives to help residents such as a garden, food delivery programs and even helping to educate seniors on the use technology.
For the first time since it’s opening, 5n2 able to pay wages to their employees, said David.
“It’s not big money, we’re paying $15-$17,” she said.
Continued financial support remains uncertain. But without the funding, 5n2 will be forced to scale down its operations.
“The chief challenge right now is that funding is running out,” said David. “Because time-bound grants have a limited time, the city will give us some money and say, ‘You got to spend it in four months.’”
Another issue is that 5n2 is in the process of looking for a new location due to a change in its lease, said David.
5n2 is currently appealing to the city to help the organization acquire its own space. Doing so would prevent the risk of losing the lease every two years, said David.
She is also interested in expanding the number of donors supporting the food bank. Donations help sustain several programs operated by 5n2.
“If people would give us even $100 a month, that would put out 20 meals to someone,” said David.
Scarborough-Guildwood Councillor Paul Ainslie made a motion to help 5n2 in May. That will play a part in acquiring a new location for 5n2, said David.
“We are asking the city to give us the same help, not just for the pandemic,” David said.
For information on becoming a monthly donor to 5n2, please visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/50534
For more information on 5n2, if you can help in their search for a new location to continue their operations from, or to make a donation, please visit their Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/5n2-needs-your-help-to-keep-scarborough-fed?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer
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