Monthly Archives: April 2020

COVID gratitude journal

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These are wild times. There’s no question about it. I know many of us are starting to fray at the edges, wondering how long this pandemic will last.

AND, it is also true that these are times of wild generosity. I’ve named many of The Dale’s amazing donors through social media, but I’d like to dedicate this blog post to the (ever-growing) group of individuals, groups and businesses that have given of their time and resources to help The Dale community through these strange and challenging times.

Epiphany and St. Mark’s Anglican Church and Greenest City have graciously allowed us the use of space in which to prepare meals and receive donations. Greenest City has also connected many of our folks with weekly Good Food Boxes (containing fresh produce.)

Capital Espresso has provided us with fresh bread, baked goods and coffee beans.

Nook Cafe, in partnership with Runnymede Presbyterian has prepared and delivered delicious lunches for our Monday meals.

New Moon Bakery has baked, individually wrapped, and donated five HUNDRED (!) organic cookies.

Cherry Bomb Coffee has donated croissants and a lot of milk and cream.

Natasha, a dear friend and regular volunteer at The Dale, picked up and delivered the New Moon and Cherry Bomb donations, and has organized a group of baking friends who provide us with a steady stream of goodies.

Patty,  another dear friend and volunteer, has sewn us a huge number of face masks, which we have been able to distribute to people in the community.

Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian has shared and delivered loads of buns and baguettes.

Second Harvest has continued to provide us with lots of amazing produce and pantry items, which we are able to distribute on Mondays along with lunch.

Ken, Christina, and James have all helped us divide the Second Harvest bounty into grocery bags, and James has also joined us on outreach and jumped into the kitchen to do food prep when we were short-staffed.

Brad, a dad whose child (in non-COVID times) attends the Scouts program at Epiphany and St. Mark’s, has been helping us distribute lunches on Mondays.

Ross and Sheila, friends from the Meeting House, have been delivering groceries and lunches to folks who have a hard time getting to us on Mondays. Sheila is also creating and selling COVID Commemorative earrings (tiny little toilet paper rolls on silver hoops!), and giving 100% of the proceeds to The Dale. If you’re interested, shoot me a message and I’ll connect you!

Cody, another Meeting House friend, has posted a list of needed items and a drop-off box in his neighbourhood, and has delivered bags and bags of donations every week to The Dale.

Gab and Roshan, more Meeting House friends who co-lead a House Church, have galvanized their group to provide support to The Dale in a variety of ways, including having us share our story during their weekly Zoom meeting 🙂

Melanie, a childhood friend of Erinn’s, has delivered a pickup-truck-load of produce from farms in the Holland Marsh area, along with a bunch of homemade hand sanitizer. Her daughters and their therapy-cat-in-training came along to help out too!

And an anonymous donor dropped off boxes and boxes of t-shirts, underwear, hats and bandanas; excess merchandise from his friend’s local screen printing business.

On top of this amazing list, many people have given financially — we are working on getting personal thank yous out to you too!

We are GRATEFUL.

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Generosity Amidst Scarcity

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It seems a paradox that people who live with very little are often the most generous. Before the COVID-driven scarcity mindset that seems to have beset the world was a thing, many folks in Parkdale (and any number of places around the city and the world) were living with little. In the midst of this pre-existing poverty, there was often incredible generosity. Now, when resources are even more scarce, this generosity is still very alive and well. Here are a few examples that made me smile/cry in the last little while:

During a visit with a friend who has experienced homelessness and has severe mobility issues, this friend told me and Erinn that he decided not to stockpile food and toilet paper but to just get what he needed. “If I have 3 rolls of toilet paper, it means that 2 other people will go without! That’s not cool.”

Later in that same visit, I told him that I was supposed to be going to my first ever Leafs game that night at 7pm, but that the NHL had made the decision to suspend the season at 1pm. My friend is a huge Leafs fan, and was crushed that I was missing “the opportunity of a lifetime”. He started tearing up on my behalf, and prayed for me that God would “hook this girl up! Let her at least bump into [Auston] Matthews on the street or something, God!” I started to cry too– not because of the cancelled game, but because of the huge empathy of my Leaf-loving buddy.

Yesterday we, The Dale staff team, were handing out brunches-to-go outside the church (Epiphany and St Mark’s Anglican) that is our current meal prep headquarters. A man came and picked up a bag, and then was on his way. A little later I went to a nearby parkette to deliver a couple of meals that I had promised to someone. As I approached the parkette, I saw that the man who had just collected a bagged brunch was sharing it with two other men (for whom I had brought food). He obviously didn’t know that I was coming; he didn’t know that there was enough food for all three of them to have a full meal. All he knew was that he had food, that his friends did not, and that he was willing to share.

May these stories be an encouragement, and a challenge to all of us (me included) for whom real or perceived scarcity is a new phenomenon. Our teachers in this are the folks who have been scraping by for a long time, and have been generous for just as long.