It has now been over 100 days since our lives changed and we flipped from the Friday Night Community to the Take Home Meal Bag program. As some of us start to get back to a new normal, there is great uncertainly about what is to come. Without the regular community meals and outreach programs in place, food security continues to be a challenge for many. We are not only assisting friends who came in our doors on Fridays, but also new folks who are now needing food support due to health challenges, social isolation as well as unexpected financial hardships. We continue to provide over 1200 meals bags each week, while delivering to over 140 residences who are not able to pick up due to extenuating circumstances.
We have many good news stories including some about folks who are no longer needing food support. The Meal Bag Program allowed one mom of 2 young adult children to take her mind off of food security, and she found the confidence to secure work. A young dad came to get food for his family and asked if he could help. We welcomed him in and he was able to give back and feel needed. Yesterday while picking up his food he shared that he secured a job at a gas station (outside his IT field) which has allowed him to provide for his family. One shut in senior woman who has been struggling with life crises, rejection and mental health issues for years shares that her days are brighter because of the meal support as well as the caring and respectful manner in which the food is delivered.
We know that COVID has impacted all of us either directly or indirectly. One mom of 3 children who was COVID positive and continues in her healing commented, “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have what the program is providing me with to feed my family while struggling with my physical and mental frailties at this time.” After a very lengthy stay in the hospital due to COVID, a 61-year old mom of a physically challenged 21-year old son returned home having lost 30 pounds. She shared, “I want to express my deepest appreciation for all that is being done for me. This program – all of the parts, right down to the wonderful man who delivers our food and the food made by everyone is just so sustaining and amazingly delicious. It has quite literally saved my life!! A ‘thank you’ is just not enough! You know, I was 106 lb when I got home, having lost 30 lb with this virus which on a 5’10” frame was VERY thin indeed. Since May 20th when I started receiving the meals and the Ensure Plus I now weigh 130 lb. God bless you all!”
Last week a lady approached me near the end of the day and asked how she could make a donation as she said she wanted to give back. She told me she might cry when she explained (which she did) that about 20 years ago we helped her out when she was a single mom, and she would never forget that. I didn’t hear much about how she was helped or who was involved…but it reminded me how one interaction, one act of hope, one gift of generosity can impact someone in a way that 20 years later they can’t talk about it without crying, and want to give back as a way of saying thank you.
We are thankful for those who are a part of preparing, packaging up and delivering meals, for the caring and compassionate team that assists folks who come to pick up on Meal Bag Days, as well as the Community Connections Team who provides telephone support to over 250 friends. Our community partners (Open Doors, Next-door Social Space, BurLINKton Community, Chef Keith Hoare and his team, our Vegan cooks, Burlington Food Bank, Salvation Army, Food For Life) are integral in allowing us to provide this abundance of food support at this time. Whether the impact is short term or remembered 20 years from now, we thank you for helping us to make that profound difference through your volunteer interactions and food and financial donations which allow us to continue to support our community.
Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦 With thanks, Lisa and the Meal Bag Team