Guest post: Diana Stapleton on Weston’s food bank

WAES (Weston Area Emergency Support) was founded in 1986 by 12 area churches in response to the growing poverty in the Weston community. As its name suggests, it was meant to be an emergency support. Unfortunately the emergency continues. In 2019 WAES has served over 700 people each month from within our York South Weston catchment area.

WAES has been run out of the back of the Frontlines building at 1844 Weston Road for 30 years. This space was provided for us by the generosity of Weston Park Baptist church. We are so grateful to them for their support.

In September of 2019 we closed the door on our space at 1844 and moved into our new, expanded space at 1 King St in the Central United Church building. After only a few weeks there it is clear this was a good move for the food bank, the volunteers and the community.

Due to the increased space the food bank can now offer a “shopping model” of service. This allows community members to select the foods that best serve their needs. We are all very happy with the new set up.

WAES is totally volunteer run. We receive financial donations from Weston Lions, York Lions, High Park Rotary, many area churches, service clubs and individuals. We use this money to purchase food that is not donated, like chicken, vegetables and fruits as well as other key necessities.

In 2018 33% of those that came to us for help were children and youth under 18, and nearly 10% were seniors. 51% of adults and 20% of children stated they went hungry at least once per week due to lack of food in their home.

Some people will say – “food banks aren’t the answer to hunger in Canada”. I totally agree with that statement. They are not, and were never meant to be. Food banks are to our social service system what emergency wards are to our health care system. A person goes to a hospital emergency ward due a critical injury or illness for immediate help, but an emergency ward does not solve or prevent a health crisis. A person goes to a food bank for 3-5 days of food once per month. This will hardly end hunger for any family living in poverty. Both emergency wards and food banks fill a very specific need. Just like improving health care, ending poverty and hunger will take a lot of work, by all levels of government, businesses and individuals.

I believe that WAES serves a specific need in York South Weston, and that without it many more people would be hungry. A person can never tell what will happen in the future, a few bad breaks and anybody can end up needing to get this type of basic food support.

If you have any questions about WAES, or would like to volunteer or make a donation please call 416-247-3737 and leave a message.

Diana Stapleton

Chair, WAES

Frontlines launches cookbook

Photo from Frontlines

I know you’re not supposed to talk about Christmas until Hallowe’en is gone, but Frontlines has written a cookbook, and it looks like it’d make a great gift for your loved ones—or yourself.

 The cookbook contains recipes as well as creative workshops that the youth created. Some workshops include “Don’t Jerk me around” —A workshop on bullying and a recipe on jerk chicken. We hope the books create conversation about issues happening for youth in general.

I’ve ordered some. If you want one (or several) contact [email protected] They’re $25 .

The History of Lions Arena

Weston’s Historical Society will be presenting the history of the Weston Lions Arena on October 2nd at the Village of Humber Heights Retirement Home.

The arena is a fascinating place (with great fries) and guest speaker Sandy Ross will talk about this 70 year-old Weston landmark that survived Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

Hurricane Hazel remembered September 29th.

The Toronto Bell Cote will be hosting a remembrance of Hurricane Hazel’s impact on Toronto some 65 years ago. Readers may remember that the building was known as St Matthias Anglican Church in 1954 and served as an operations centre during the rescue and relief efforts following the event.

“A small, white frame church (provided) non-stop service of mercy … St. Matthias Anglican, capacity 88 churchgoers — and the parson, Reverend Paul Glover, 24, wearing mud-stained jeans and jacket — administered to the urgent needs of the flood-devastated area of the Westmount flats.”  The pews were piled high with clothing, blankets, food and other life necessities brought by neighbouring families, and the church was billed as “a haven for the homeless”. 

In the light of climate change and increasingly damaging hurricanes, guest speakers will discuss the likelihood of whether a similarly catastrophic event could affect our community and how we can be prepared. After the discussions, participants are invited to visit the commemorative plaque in Raymore Park.

Here is their flyer advertising the event.


Upcoming events

There’s no excuses for boredom over the next couple of weeks. A ton of things are going on!

The Community Place Hub will be hosting its Fall Festival on September 13 from 3 to 7 pm.


Colin Mendez Morris will be performing “Joshua Glover: The Opera” in Little Avenue Park. The opera tells the story of Glover, a slave who was freed, recaptured, and imprisoned before coming to Etobicoke. It is part of the Arts in the Parks Series.

Joshua Glover: The Opera


UrbanArts is hosting the “Living Black Genius” program starting September 24.

Living Black Genius is an immersive program that highlights and connects prominent Black Canadian leaders with youth and the larger community.
When: Tuesday, September 24th 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: UrbanArts at Artscape Weston Common, 34 John St (York)

 

 


The Weston Historical Society will be having a walk to discuss the Humber River, on September 28, starting at 1:30.


 

Shakespeare in Action looking for aspiring dramatists

Shakespeare in Action is offering fall programming for for young people interested in writing and producing theatre. Kids from 4 to 14 can participate in three programs on Saturdays, starting October 19.

Thespian

Young Storytellers – Ages 4-6

Saturdays 9-9:45

Through drama, language arts, movement and music this course is designed to introduce our youngsters to unique ways to express themselves creatively, explore character creation and storytelling.  The course ends in a short presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here

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Drama Makers – Ages 7-10

Saturdays 10am-11:15am

Through fun-filled play, storytelling, movement, music, and games, this class will give children a vibrant introduction to drama. By creating characters and stories, the course ends in a short presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here

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Creating Theatre – Ages 11-14

Saturdays 11:30-1pm

In this introductory acting course, young actors will learn to use their voices, bodies and imaginations to learn to creatively express themselves by communicating thoughts, emotions and storytelling. By improvising, puppetry, music, creating characters, writing and exploring texts, the course ends in a short original presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here

The classes will be at Artscape and cost $120 per child. Prospective students with low incomes can apply for scholarships and subsidies provided by SIA.

 

 

Toronto Bell Cote Neighbourhood Bazaar this Sunday

The heritage preservation people at Toronto Bell Cote at 691 Scarlett Road are holding a fundraising bazaar on Sunday August 25 between 1 and 3pm. Funds raised will go to support local artisans and the maintenance of the former St Matthias church.

It’s never too late or too early to stock up!  Please come to the Toronto Bell Cote Heritage Preservation’s Neighbourhood Bazaar. Flowers, baked goods, handicrafts, paintings will be on sale to support local artisans and an award-winning Heritage Building.”