The People's Pantry in Toronto provides free home-cooked meals to those in need
Times have been tough but The People's Pantry in Toronto has been making it a little easier for people in need since the beginning of the pandemic.
The initiative delivers free home-cooked meals to the doors of those experiencing food insecurity in Toronto. They also have a sister initiative that provides groceries and cooked meals to Oakville, Milton, Burlington and Hamilton, and occasionally Guelph and Kitchener.
It all started when one of the co-founders and local community advocates, Ellie Ade Kur, made an offer in the CareMongering TO group with her partner Yann Gracia to provide meals to people in need.
Another co-founder, Jade Crimson Rose Da Costa, offered the same thing the next day.
After a few weeks, the other cofounders, Andrea Román Alfaro, Michelle Huang, and Paul Pritchard began cooking meals too, and eventually the six of them came together to form The People's Pantry.
The group of community advocates and students from the University of Toronto and York University has evolved into a 500-volunteer initiative that has helped over 26,000 people in Toronto and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
"At first, we were just cooking out of our respective homes, packing the groceries ourselves, delivering ourselves or finding drivers as we went and funding it ourselves," one of the co-founders told blogTO.
"Now we have various cooks located across Toronto [and the GTHA] who cook for us and a network of cyclists and drivers who deliver for us."
The group is founded by mostly women, queer people, trans people, and people of colour, and prioritizes support for BIPOC, queer and trans issues, sex workers, the elderly, refugees, and those living with underlying health conditions.
But they'll help anyone in need no questions asked, and no fixed address required.
"We believe in food justice and tackle food insecurity along with the systems of injustice that cause it such as antiblack racism, settler colonialism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and capitalism," said one of the co-founders.
"We believe everyone deserves access to high quality, culturally appropriate and nutritional food."
The initiative has also raised over $150,000 in donations and grants with over $55,000 of that coming from a GoFundMe started back in March. This will go directly to food-insecure families in Toronto and the GTA.
Visit The People's Pantry website to donate or volunteer.
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