Happy “Snow Day” Friday!
(Are snow days ⛄ even a thing anymore?)

As Durham Region is slowly digging out from the first major snow dump of the season, I hope you managed to pull through without causing yourself any harm shovelling... man, that snow was heavy! I know I'm feeling it today... 🤣

Just 9 more days to go before Christmas, and in this season of giving, I wanted to briefly highlight unnerving statistics from the new “2022 Durham Region Hunger Report” issued by Feed the Need in Durham.  But it's not all doom and gloom as you will see from the profiles of two young adults who are doing what they can to help those in need in Bowmanville and Oshawa.

I hope these stories inspire you to action and fill you with hope.
Let's get to this week's issue of Durham Life.

The 2022 Durham Region Hunber Report highlights a 58% increase in Food Bank usage, with over 130,000 visits to food banks.

First off, who is “Feed the Need in Durham?”

  • FTND is the Regional Distribution Hub for emergency food providers in our community.
  • They collect and rescue surplus and donated perishable and nonperishable food and other products to help our frontline providers, such as food banks, shelters, meal programmes, in-school nutritional programmes, and other social service agencies.
  • Bottom line = Together with the rest of our community, they help feed our neighbours who don't have enough food to eat.

Where does their food come from?

  • Food donations come from a variety of sources such as distribution centres, store recovery programs, retail stores, food drives, manufacturers, individuals and families.
  • A bulk food purchasing program allows them to ensure that they always have the essentials available for our network of frontline providers
  • They also accept personal hygiene items, cleaning products & new houseware items.

Feed the Need in Durham believes that food insecurity should not prevent anyone from fulfilling their potential or participating fully in the life of our community. Their mandate is to work with member agencies and community partners to alleviate hunger by providing fresh, frozen, and non-perishable food to those who need it most in our community.

The 2022 Durham Region Hunger Report

Last week, Feed Ontario issued its 2022 Hunger Report, indicating that almost 600,000 individuals in the province sought emergency food assistance more than 4.3 million times last year. This is a 15 percent and 42 percent increase over the pre-pandemic numbers from 2019, and the sixth consecutive year in which food bank usage has increased.

In Durham Region, the numbers are also alarming:

And finally, the one statistic that really stood out for me:

  • 38 percent of all individuals served at food banks were children and youth under the age of 18 years

You can read the full report here.

In speaking with LeeAnne Rorabeck, the Communications Manager of FTND, she pointed out that 60 members are in the network and that over 2,000,000 pounds of food was collected this year. And still there is a short fall.  The need is greater than ever. That said, FTND has some plans to accommodate more people and will be making some major announcements in the new year. Stay tuned for a video about Feed the Need in Durham very soon.

So, what can you do to help?

For the biggest bang for your buck, a monetary donation is the way to go. For every $1 donated, FTND can collect, store and distribute $7 worth of food. Amazing!

They also have a wish list, which is probably similar to the food bank in your community.

Where can you donate?

FTND has an active list of Food Banks / Agencies in Durham Region, which you can access here, to locate the one in your neighbourhood.

Not good news, I know.
But if there ever was a time to donate money, food or volunteer with any of these organizations, now is the time.

👏🏽 👏🏿 👏 Thank You Feed the Need in Durham, for all you do!

Additional Food Poverty Resources from Durham.ca

Good News from people inspired to take Action!

In my constant search for people doing good in Durham Region, I came across a couple of interesting posts on Facebook this week.

A Christmas Morning Breakfast

🍳 🥓 🥞 🥯  Grace Sturman, from Bowmanville is looking to host a Christmas morning breakfast at St, Paul's United Church (178 Church St. Bowmanville). When I saw her post I thought this was a great idea, but what also caught my attention was the number of comments and people wanting to help. At last count there were 99!

I spoke with Grace and she was just overwhelmed by the response! She still had 30 people to get back to, and the shopping list was almost done, and volunteers (kitchen help and servers) were pretty much accounted for. She really wants this to be an event open to everyone, and especially "those without community, group home friends and our friends without shelter.”

Also, as an FYI, Grace has started a "Self-Serve Pantry” at the church, and is in the works of expanding it for the New Year. You better get out of her way!

To help Grace in any way, you can contact her here:

👏🏽 👏🏿 👏 Thanks Grace for inspiring us all!
And good luck with the Christmas Breakfast!

A Man on a “Sole Mission”

❄️ 🥾🧥 ☃️ Nathan Bailey posted on a Whitby-Oshawa group looking for winter coats and boots to keep his "Sole Mission" alive for the winter months.

I got in touch with Nathan, and found out he is a shoe collector (sneakers and such...) and that he was inspired to action by someone in the US who was also a collector but gave a lot of his shoe away to help those who didn't have any shoes. He's given away over 100 pairs so far, and works with some agencies like “Gate 3:16” in Oshawa. He will also meet with homeless people and pass the shoes on directly to them. If you have any winter boots and jackets to donate, get in touch with Nathan and he'll make some arrangements for drop-offs or pick-ups.

To help Nathan and his “Sole Mission,” you can contact him here:

👏🏽 👏🏿 👏 Thanks Nathan for inspiring us all! You are a soul for soles!

Great events in #ourDurhamLife you might have missed...

  • CP Holiday Train - made a stop in Bowmanville, and we were there! It got over 3,400 minutes of viewing time and was shared 40 times on @ourDurhamLife Facebook page. 👏🏽 👏🏿 👏  And you can watch it here!
  • Black Joy Holiday Market - The 1st Annual Black Joy Holiday Market was held in Pickering just recently. Hosted and produced by the Durham Family and Cultural Centre and The Pickering Anti-Black Racism Taskforce https://www.facebook.com/PABRT-100492282702956/ , it showcased Black entrepreneurs and business owners from the Durham Region. It was also a fundraiser for 50 Afro-Caribbean Food Baskets for families, individuals and students this Holiday season. And the Sorrel was amazing! Thanks Rosie!
    👏🏽 👏🏿 👏

For the complete listing of Events happening in Durham Region, please visit our Community Events page on our website: DurhamLife.ca
You can also post and submit your events on our site, and we encourage you to do so, and spread the word about our events page.

💡 Positive News from around the world... to enrich #OurDurhamLife...

The Last Words...

You are what you do - how you spend your time will define you.

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Until next time... do good!

MiKe D