Community News Update - November 28, 2022

Dear Community,

December is just around the corner, and more folks than ever are experiencing food insecurity. Due to a perfect storm of rising food costs, low social assistance rates, and the soaring cost of housing, our neighbours are in dire need of our help.

Ontario has seen a 16% increase in food bank visits over the last year, and many food banks are struggling to meet this demand. As someone who has experienced food insecurity first hand and has relied on food banks through many stages of my life, I want to do all that I can to ensure our community is fed throughout this difficult season.

While food insecurity is a systemic issue that demands a response by every level of government, I'm proud to partner with The Beeton Cupboard Food Bank as they deliver on-the-ground services to folks in need now.

From December 5 to December 12, my office will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items to support our neighbours in need. You need only reply to this email to arrange a time for drop-off. Folks who are unable to deliver but wish to donate are encouraged to reach out and we will do our best to facilitate collection!

The Beeton Cupboard Food Bank also accepts monetary donations via e-transfer sent to [email protected] with the message "food bank." A tax receipt will be issued to donors in the New Year.

Thank you so much for joining with me in making this season even a bit less stressful for our Toronto-St. Paul's residents!

On Sunday, I joined our 2SLGTBQIA+ community in memory of the five fallen and 25 injured in the devastating Colorado shooting. Thank you to The 519 and Pride Toronto for bringing us together.

My heart is with the families of Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, and Ashley Paugh. You deserved better.

Queer, trans, and non-binary lives matter. We are not disposable. We are not objects. We have a right to live without fear of being killed for who we are and who we love.

We all have a right to be here.

Sending a heartfelt thank you to our community members who showed up in solidarity. We came together, we cried, and we spoke with one another. We are angry and hurt, and we've had enough.

Thank you to MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam for inviting me and MPP Marit Stiles to join you on stage as you addressed our community with such compassion and conviction. Elizabeth, thank you for your powerful poem. I too wish for our community to be safe and for our elders to grow old and wise.

The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence continue into day 4 today. While this work can’t be limited to 16 days a year, this time of year is key to spreading awareness as to how gender-based violence is perpetuated and, more importantly, prevented here in Ontario.  
 
Luke’s Place is using these 16 days to draw awareness back to the Renfrew County Inquest, a report published earlier this summer following the tragic femicides of 3 women, Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam and Carol Culleton in 2015. Since the Inquest’s release this July, not one of the 86 total recommendations – 68 being under provincial jurisdiction – has been taken on by this government. 
 
Their organization is, therefore, re-amplifying these calls through highlighting one of the recommendations for each of the 16 days, which they’ve determined a top priority to end gender-based violence once and for all. Today, they are urging the government to address Recommendation #7: address intimate partner violence using an all-of-government approach. Yes, that includes the provincial government too. 
 
To learn more about this campaign or of Luke’s Place’s work, click here

Also doing incredible work to eliminate gender-based violence in Ontario is the YWCA. 
 
This past July, they launched their The National Emergency Survivor Support Fund, providing women, gender-diverse folks, and their families with the financial resources they need to leave an abusive relationship. Since then, 90% of folks receiving this funding have said it’s supported them leaving violence to prove that the fund isn’t just effective, it’s essential.  
 
Sadly, funding is dwindling fast, putting far too many victim-survivors at risk of staying in or going back to abusive households. The demand resulting from the ‘shadow pandemic’ is overwhelming the limited supply. 
 
That’s why I’m turning to you, community. If you have the means, please consider donating what you can to this vital fund. You can also support by sharing this initiative with your networks or across your social media. Any bit helps to give victim-survivors a fresh, SAFE re-start at life.  

To donate or learn more about the fund, click here.

Grace Church on the Hill will be hosting a concert with The Annex Singers on December 3. Attendees must be vaccinated and wear a mask. See their eventbrite for more details!

If you're as big a lasagna fan as I am, you must try Macelleria Atlas on St. Clair W. for wholesale and retail meat. They've been here since 1968! Thank you, Tony and Angela, for this delicious meal!

Applications for the spring 2023 Page Program are now open until November 30! Please share with your interested grade 7 and 8 youth.

Don't forget: The Davisville Village Enchanted Forest of Lights & Holiday Party returns for another year! The Family Lights Package (which includes a 300 LED light set, battery pack, and family name plaque) can be purchased by Sunday, December 12 and the holiday party commences Saturday, December 17 at 4PM.

Email [email protected] for more information and to reserve your tree!

BAM! Barns Art Market will be hosting a Holiday Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street) on December 4 from 10 AM - 4 PM. Come on down for some holiday shopping!

This weekend: The Christmas Arts Market at St. Michael & All Angels (611 St. Clair Ave. W) on Saturday, December 3 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Come on down for one-of-a-kind gifts, artwork, and baked goods! I hope to see you there!

On December 11, Holy Blossom Temple will be hosting "Gifts of Light: Voices of Our Children," the third annual interfaith holiday concert. All proceeds will be in support of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Toronto. Don't forget to register!

Once again this year, Toronto Cares Initiatives will be hosting a Clothing & More Drive to support their Toy Deliveries to children in need. They had over 700 children registered within 24 hours of the list opening, so they need your help more than ever! 

Clothing & More Pick-up Registration: www.toronto-cares.ca/annual-clothing-drive

Toy Registration WAITLIST & Donations: www.toronto-cares.ca/christmas-2022

A friendly reminder and invitation that Queen's Park is open to visitors! If you or an organization you work with would like to come watch your MPP advocate for people and planet, please email us as [email protected] to set up a visit - I'd love to meet you!

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's

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