GOOD NEIGHBOUR HERO AWARD
This award celebrates those who put their own needs aside to help others, such as supporting neighbours and vulnerable individuals in need of medication, supplies, and groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
KGO GRASSROOTS LEADERS
RECIPIENT OF THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR HERO AWARD
KGO Grassroots Leaders are a dynamic resident-led network in Scarborough’s Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this self-organized group has worked tirelessly to connect with neighbours, identify their needs and provide support, particularly with food and personal protective equipment (PPE). Leveraging their own resources and connections – they have sourced and delivered hampers for neighbours during the holidays, provided hot culturally and dietary appropriate meals, organized hundreds of large fresh nutritional produce packages and distributed boxes of essential PPE for local families.
Can you tell us about yourself (and/or) your organization?My family and I immigrated to Canada in the summer of 2007, and needless to say we faced several challenges over the next 5 years with getting jobs and settling into our new domicile. 5n2 Soup Kitchens was birthed in the midst of these challenging times with a vision to make a meal available to those who needed it in my community.
Did you have a source of inspiration or motivation that fueled you to take such remarkable actions to support and serve the Scarborough community during COVID-19?The seed for this vision I believe was planted in my heart by God, and I say this because I hadn’t visited another soup kitchen anywhere and this is not my area of work by any stretch of the imagination. While working downtown at GBC I saw the much visible homelessness and poverty on my walk from Union station to 200 King Street east, and while we were raising tens of thousands of dollars for United Way, I began to research what supports were being channelled to East Scarborough where I commuted from. This in turn gave me a further impetus to do something to help those in need in my community.
What does winning this award mean to you?To me personally, it speaks more to the tireless work of our kitchen, program and delivery teams who have worked tirelessly especially since March 2020 seven days each week to ensure our support to the urgent needs in our communities.
What was a positive moment or meaningful memory from this past year that stands out to you?When the Covid-19 first came into Toronto, most of our partnerships shut down food services and we had to quickly pivot to an online sign up to meal and grocery delivery requests: at this point a past senior volunteer along with her retired sister who could not even climb the steps into our facility offered to drive ‘any distance’ to help deliver meals and groceries. This blew me away, as why would seniors, and with added physical challenges do this with much risk to themselves. Also, when most of our volunteers stepped off with the fear factor at a high, the very few who took a risk coming out to help multiple days was amazing.
If you could describe Scarborough in one word, what would it be?"Diversity
What does being part of the Scarborough community mean to you?It pictures a caring and generous community.