Options for giving

The best time to give is after you feel like hell for being such a crass and grasping consumer and before your credit card bill comes due. That should be in about two weeks, if your experience (and postal service) is like mine.

Here, accordingly, are some options for giving during the holiday season:

This Sunday, the Weston Park Baptist Church starts its annual Christmas Food Drive. All the proceeds go to the Weston food bank (WAES) and help more than 330 local families. “One week prior to the drive, 4000 bags will be distributed into the Weston community and then on the day of the drive, more than 100 volunteers will go door-to-door to collect the food, sort it at the church, box it and prepare it”

Me, I like to give money. It’s less trouble, and nobody ends up with peanut butter but no jam. You can donate directly to WAES.

Frontlines is a popular youth after-school drop-in centre. They’d be glad for a little of your dough.

The WKNC does great work, too, I know. They are a drop-in and outreach centre. They’re always busy. A little cash would go far in their hands.

Add your favourite charity in the comments. I’ll link to them.


U of T students blitz Weston

Some University of Toronto students spent their reading weeks in Weston and Mount Dennis pitching in on various community projects.

The students went to the  LEF, the WKNC, The Jane Street Hub, and Laura Albanese’s office. They were busy, too—painting, helping out with clients, and work that isn’t particularly glamourous, like organizing the clothing room at the WKNC and cleaning up.

photo of Michelle Hayano and other students painting a mural
Photo from the U of T
Photo from the U of T.

A local hero: Barbara Bisgrove


I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Bisgrove: a long time Westonian and cofounder of the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, a drop-in and resource centre in the Central United Church.

Ms Bisgrove is the first-ever Weston Hero: a person who gives much to her community. Click on the little arrow to hear our chat.


I interviewed others at the WKNC, and I hope to weave the interviews together into a small documentary. More to come.

Your lottery money, well spent

I’m still mad that I didn’t get win the $56 million 6/49 draw—I just knew that it was my time—but at least I know that my eight bits were well spent. The Ontario Trillium Foundation has given all of my money, and another $490,000 besides, to Weston community groups.

UrbanArts picked up $224,000, The WKNC $110,000, and the LEF $156,000.


Weston covered in yellow cards

Four food establishments in Weston were given yellow cards by Toronto Public health in December: the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, Sang Restaurant, Poon’s Express, and Bonita Family Restaurant.

The WKNC was carded for not ensuring that food was not contaminated, not maintaining the washer, not providing supplies at the sinks, not preventing pests, not having a thermometer, and not properly washing equipment.

Sang was dinged for not maintaining safe food temperatures, which is a very serious offense. They were also carded for not using proper utensils, not washing equipment, not washing up surfaces, and a couple of equipment transgressions.


Poon’s Express, across the street, was not keeping food preparation equipment in good repair. It, too, got a yellow card.


The Bonita Family Restaurant wasn’t properly maintaining its mechanical equipment and got a yellow card for its lack of effort.


Mayoral awards for Weston groups

Frontlines Cooks and the Weston King Neighbourhood Drop In have won nice awards from the mayor. They won the Community Safety Award in November, and each received $1000 and a commemorative certificate.

Frontlines Cooks

 is a cooking class that builds on peer mentorship and healthy living. Children learn about menu creation, healthy eating, and how to shop on a budget. Meals are shared together, along with table manners! Full bellies and full hearts.


The WKNC Drop In is a safe place for the marginalized to hang out, get warm, do laundry, and meet and network.

Thanks to Frances Nunziata for the tip!

What’s Winter to You?

By Barbara Bisgrove, reprinted with permission from OneKing.ca

“Snow on snow” and “frosty winds may moan” as we sing? It was a cold and blustery day at the drop-in yesterday and I learned a thing or two about the changes in season for our program participants.

Now it is getting colder people want socks. Billy came looking for some to warm his bare feet in his running shoes with the soles falling off. I checked the supply cupboard – one white, two red and a grey pair. He took the grey pair which were a bit worn and small, saying it was better than nothing.

Cynthia was shivering when she came in and was looking for a coat. We only had one in the clothing room where we store the donated clothing. She is size zero and this padded jacket was probably a 14. “You don’t want that, it’s way too big” I said. “I need to keep warm at night, I’m homeless again. This is fine.” And she wrapped it around her and went off out to huddle overnight in an ATM kiosk or shelter made from cardboard boxes in the laneway.

Patsy, who is currently couch-surfing, only had flip flops. When you don’t have a permanent home you don’t keep much in hand. You’ve usually lost your possessions the last time you were kicked out. She found two pairs of dress shoes in the clothing room and drew a lot of teasing by wearing one of each for the next hour or so while deciding which felt the best. She found a skirt and sweater and a few other things, and asked to use the drop-in’s washers and dryers to clean them up before putting them on. When she left she looked like a new person.

If you have any seasonal items – socks, gloves, hats, scarves, coats, sweaters, etc. that need to find new homes please drop them off at Weston King Neighbourhood Centre 2017 Weston Road between 10:30 and 1:00 Monday to Saturday and 3:00 to 7:00 on Tuesdays.