Community News Update - August 4, 2021

Dear Community,

Ontario reported a COVID case count of 139 and 11 deaths today. 26 of the new cases reported were in the Toronto region and an additional 15 were in York. Ontario has also reached a milestone in vaccinations, surpassing the 70% mark for those fully vaccinated. 70.1% of those eligible have now received both doses, while those who have received their first reached 81.6%. We thank each of you who have taken this this important step!

For those who have yet to receive their first or second doses, vaccines are becoming more widely available, with many clinics allowing walk-ins to overcome barriers to access. For those who are hesitant, the science continues to show the safety and efficacy of the available vaccines. They continue to be our best bet to reaching the herd immunity needed to control the spread and rise above this devastating pandemic.

This is especially important as the school year is set to start in just 5 weeks with many school-aged kids not yet fully vaccinated or ineligible to receive it.

It is for this reason, among others, why we need a comprehensive back-to-school plan from Minister Lecce and the Ford government. This includes smaller class sizes, better ventilation to prevent the spread, rapid tests made available across school boards, and paid sick days for teachers and parents.

But after months of waiting, the government's plan was unveiled yesterday, falling short of what is needed to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the last school year. This year, promoting and protecting the physical and mental health of students must be made a top priority, which means making adequate investments to keep them in the classroom alongside their peers and teachers. Instead, the Ford government has cut even more from the budget - $800 million to be exact - effectively rolling the dice on our kid's health and province’s future.

This is unacceptable. I join opposition leader, Andrea Horwath, education critic, MPP Stiles, and my colleagues with the Ontario NDP as we call for a better plan, increased investments, and a #SafeSeptember2021.

In the meantime, we are grateful for community-based care that supports kids after what has been an especially difficult year for them. In our own Toronto-St. Paul’s, a group of six women at Tinchester Gardens saw the challenges that vulnerable youth continually face through racism and social injustice, and turned it into an opportunity to launch a fundraising effort by compiling recipes from their neighbours and friends. 

The result? A cookbook filled with recipes and stories reflecting treasured memories to be shared with loved ones. Available for $15 + shipping, the proceeds of each sale will be donated to ComKids. This charity is dedicated to creating a level playing field for at-risk students by providing them with their own laptop and training in essential digital skill lessons, ultimately, creating a launching pad to unlock their full potential.

More information about ComKids can be found here. To place your cookbook order and support this important initiative, email [email protected]
 
In other news, live arts and culture is back, including one of the city’s most anticipated festivals. Urban Arts TO’s Culture Shock 2021 kicks off tonight and will run for four days throughout the city. Their COVID-safe lineup includes a block party this Saturday, a movie night on Friday, and a pride event tomorrow, complete with a DJ, art showcase, and other live performances.

Tickets for the events are FREE. Get yours by clicking here.

Toronto-St. Paul’s NDP Federal Nomination meeting is also taking place this Saturday, starring approved candidate (drum roll, please) Sidney Coles. I am thrilled to be joining them as they look forward to an exciting campaign, rooted in their core values of equity and inclusion to meet the diverse needs of Toronto-St. Paul's.

If you'd like to join in celebrating Sidney's nomination, click here to RSVP.

Lastly, our community food tables will be up and running again this Saturday from 11-1. We are always looking for volunteers and/or donations for any of our four locations;

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.

 

We hope to see you there. Until then, keep safe and stay well.


In Solidarity,

Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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