Toronto food insecurity program getting kicked out of space after lease terminated
A program that helps people facing food insecurity in Toronto is getting kicked out of their space as their lease is being terminated, and needs all the help they can get with relocating.
Charity 5n2 serves 3500 free meals per week at 11 locations in Toronto, and not only have they not been closed a single day during the pandemic, they've actually implemented new pantry, garden, education and food delivery programs.
However, 5n2 has been depending on time-bound grants that will stop by the end of 2021, forcing 5n2 to shrink their operations if donations remain as stagnant as they have been recently.
By the end of the year they'll also have to move out of their current space due to their lease being terminated as the business owners they're leasing from require the space back for storage purposes.
To qualify for the city's assistance to move to another subsidizied location, 5n2 must first face the challenge of raising around $420,000 to fix up a proposed location (for $170,000) and reinstall kitchen appliances there ($250,000).
They're launching a campaign to raise money for the cause and awareness of their situation, as they don't have any corporate sponsors in their current donor base they can rely on, can't expect large enough donations from individual donors, and can't spend government grants not allocated for relocation.
"Relocation has been our biggest hurdle to date," Celina Fu, public relations for 5n2, tells blogTO. "It could mean the difference of whether or not we can resume our work in 2022."
They're putting out an open call for partnerships with businesses and corporations to help sustain them, and are also launching a GoFundMe with a target to raise $170,000.
"We are looking to appeal to the people who are from Scarborough, who have built their lives and businesses here and moved on," says Fu.
"Not everyone can do what we do, but financial support is needed to help us continue our work which is crucial for our more marginalized communities in Scarborough."
Unfortunately, they'll have to scale back on services and suspend meals and supports for clients while they relocate, but the new space will give them the opportunities to expand they desperately need.
"Food insecurity has been compounded by the pandemic, and the increasing demand coupled with the lease termination has coincided with our need to relocate to a larger facility," says Fu.
They've outgrown their current space, and will be able to meet increasing demands in the new space.
"We are fairly confident that we will receive support from local communities and businesses as we find people are generous and need to make informed decisions about where to donate their money," says Fu.
5n2 is hoping to relocate from 2050 Ellesmere Rd. to 705 Progress Ave.
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