Community News Update - August 20, 2021

Dear Community,

Today, Ontario reported 650 new COVID-19 cases across the province. Of these, 136 cases were in Toronto and another 63 were in York region. Vaccination rates have risen to 82.8% of adults receiving their first dose, while 74.4% of eligible Ontarians (12+) are now fully vaccinated.

As the case count indicates the beginning of a fourth wave, I remind each of you that getting vaccinated continues to be our best bet in protecting ourselves and our community against this virus.

To help lift barriers many in our community still face in getting their jab, we’ve been popping up with community vaccine clinics across Toronto-St. Paul's. As we speak, we are at the former Montage Support Services (504 Oakwood Ave.), welcoming walk-ins until 8pm tonight to receive either Pfizer or Moderna, subject to eligibility (see below flyer). A special thanks goes out to our community partners, Women’s College HospitalUnison Health & Community Services, and Oakwood Village BIA. We hope to continue these to keep our community safe and will update you with details on our next one!

I also had the pleasure of having For Youth Initiative join our clinic today. They are an amazing organization working out of York-South Weston and neighbouring communities, including our own Toronto-St. Paul’s to help vulnerable youth overcome inequities to provide a better future for them and in turn, all of us.

Learn more of their incredible community involvement or find ways to support here.

Yesterday,I released an official statementand sent out a special bulletin to the community following the anti-semitic attack against Beth Sholom Synagogue. But I wanted to take a moment to reiterate its message;  there is absolutely no room for hate here, or anywhere and I continue to send love and support to the Jewish community across Toronto-St. Paul's and this province.

I also wanted to say a special thanks to community members, David and his wife, Elizabeth. Immediately after posting on social media, David contacted our office offering to remove the disgusting images. Withinhours, I met the two of them on-site at the Synagogue, where they showed up with all the supplies and tools to help erase this act of hate.

This was not a one-off for David and Elizabeth. Each time an anti-semitic act of vandalism happens (which is sadly, too often), the two are quick to mobilize to remove it – no questions asked. While this week’s act of hate upon the Jewish community may have us losing hope, it is people like David and Elizabeth who restore this.

Our community is better because of them. David and Elizabeth, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Tomorrow, I will be joining as a panelist on theKenyan Canadian Association’swebinar;Understanding and Preventing Gender-Based Violence, as part of their Safer + Stronger COVID-19 Emergency Webinar Series. Of the many tragic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this province has seen a sharp increase in gender-based violence. Meanwhile, meaningful supports – from counselling, to housing, to employment - for its victims still remain too few and far in between, leaving many trapped in violent homes or relationships.

This is not okay and must change. I am honored to speak to this issue, as one I hold very close to my own heart, to raise awareness so we can take the steps to do so.

The webinar is taking place tomorrow at 2:45pm-5:30pm and is free to join. Click here to register, or you can tune in to their Facebook or YouTube where it will be streaming live.

If you or anyone you know may be experiencing domestic, intimate-partner, or gender-based violence, see a list of resources here for organizations that can help, as well as affordable mental health supports here.

Also happening tomorrow, the highly-anticipated Rastafest 2021 is coming to our own Toronto-St. Paul’s community! Happening from 12pm-7pm in the Reggae Lane Parking Lot (Eglinton Ave. W. and Marlee Ave.), the festival will immerse visitors in the vibrant culture of the Caribbean, with a musical lineup of top reggae artists, local food vendors, and a marketplace. The family-friendly event is FREE so come down to celebrate. The concert with also be streaming online at www.rastafest.tv so if you can’t make it in-person, you can still check it out from home!

A reminder to #SupportSmallBusiness as best you can this weekend. I popped into FormoCha Bubble Tea House on Yonge and Eglinton earlier for their mixed berry smoothie. Highly recommended!

Our community food tables will be back up and running again tomorrow at the same four locations below. As of next week (August 27, 2021), we will also be adding SCHOOL SUPPLIES to the tables as kids head back to class in just a few weeks. If you have any extra supplies, we welcome these donations, as well as food. If you’re a student and/or parent in need, stop by next week or the ones following to take as you need.

As always, we are looking for volunteers for these weekly community events! Click the links below to register. If you’d like to take part and have any accessibility/accommodation requests, let us know by emailing [email protected]

Marian Engel Park - 285 Melita Ave. (Christie St. and Melita Ave)
Click here to register to volunteer.

St. Matthew’s United Church - 729 St. Clair Ave West. (St. Clair Ave W. and Rushton Ave.)
Click here to register to volunteer.

Cy Townsend Park - 455 Winona Dr. (Vaughan Rd. and Winona Dr.)
Click here to register to volunteer.

Oriole Park Community Garden - 201 Oriole Parkway (Located near Lascelles Blvd. At the south entrance to Oriole Park)
Click here to register to volunteer.

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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