2019-2020 Annual Report

Food Keeps Us Connected

The Stop’s Year in Review

September 2019-August 2020 was an unprecedented year for The Stop.

When COVID-19 kept us apart, our staff and volunteers used good food to keep our community connected. They met the growing demand, and made thousands of meals, hampers, and phone calls to support people when they needed it most.

Scroll down to see our impact in actionthrough stats, quotes, and stories from The Stop.


A Message from Leigh

Headshot of Leigh Godbold

Leigh Godbold

Executive Director

March 16, 2020 was my first day as The Stop’s new Executive Director. Suddenly, the organization I’d been part of for over 9 years was called to meet an urgent new demand.

I’m not alone in this transition: COVID-19 has caused so many of us to step into leadership roles to meet the needs of our communities.

I’m immensely grateful for our staff, volunteers, donors, and supporters who’ve rallied to keep each other safe and healthy through the pandemic. From our frontline workers packing hampers, to the donors who’ve supported our work, to the mutual aid groups that have sprung up across the city—we have all a part to play in looking out for one another.

We know that meals alone can’t build a community’s resilience. Our power comes from our connections, and our responsibility, to each other.

As we continue to ride out the pandemic, The Stop is looking to the future. The 1 in 7 Torontonians who struggle with food insecurity will need more support as our country recovers and attention moves elsewhere. Our organization must plan for innovation, so that we can efficiently respond with programs and advocacy—no matter what the future holds.

The Stop also must acknowledge our complicity in the systemic racism that exists in the charitable sector. We have spent the past year working to address practices that have been harmful within our own organization. We are approaching this work thoughtfully to ensure that systemic issues across the organizationincluding racism in all its formsare addressed in a comprehensive way. This includes everything from our governance structure, to our HR policies, how we raise money and allocate resources, and who feels welcome in our programs and spaces. 

Being a safe and inclusive place to work and access opportunities will always require us to look critically at ourselves to ensure that our practices and policies are in line.  This work is ongoing, and The Stop is committed to it.

This has been an incredibly difficult year for so many. As I reflect on what we’ve accomplished, learned, lost, and gained in 2020, I am bolstered by the knowledge that, whatever comes next, The Stop will remain here for our community.

Thank you so much for being a part of it.

Our Work During COVID

Providing Emergency Food

Bringing people together around food has always been central to The Stop’s work and mission. Once COVID made that impossible, we offered takeway meals and pre-packaged hampers at a distance.

Takeaway Meals

Our Community Chefs showed incredible resourcefulness when facing an 30% increase in demand for our meals.

Every day, with just two volunteers, they served 350+ delicious meals made with donated food and the fresh ingredients we purchase with our fundraising dollars.

Our Food Bank

After the City of Toronto implemented COVID lockdown measures, almost 40% of food banks and services closed their doors.

The Stop stayed open. We re-configured our food hampers to last longer and minimize visits, and increased the amount of times people could access our services.

Voices from The Stop

We try to provide a wide variety of fresh vegetables and food for our clients. I live close to the community, and I used to use the food bank, so I know how beneficial it can be.

Jermaine, Food Bank Assistant

The strength of a community is measured on how we look after one another. This is a moment when we all need to roll up our sleeves and make sure we all get through this together.

Nick, Food Bank Worker

It’s more important than ever for us to look after each other  especially those who have always been the most at-risk in our community.

Monica, Community Chef

Our impact 2019-2020

0
Takeout meals served
0
Food hampers prepared

Community Voices

An in-depth report from our Economic Justice Advocate Karlene Ruddock explores how COVID-19 is far from an equalizer.

Our Work During COVID

Community Programs

Good food is just the beginning. Throughout the pandemic, Stop program staff are connecting people to vital resources, information, and personal support.

Community Advocacy

Our Community Advocacy Office is a peer-run project where people with lived experience of poverty provide information, referrals, and help to fellow community members.

When COVID-19 broke we had to close the physical office, but we’ve kept supporting peers in innovative ways that maintain public safety. Every weekday, they’re on the phone answering calls from neighbours who have concerns about accessing government benefits, housing, food, or healthcare during the pandemic.

 

Healthy Beginnings

Checking in with new parents is so important these days—especially those who were already feeling anxious and isolated.

Healthy Beginnings is a weekly, drop-in program that improves the health of families facing challenges like poverty, teen pregnancy, and isolation. Our team provides one-on-one support, connections to other parents, and a healthy food hamper every week.

Last year, 206 new and expectant parents took part. Of the 137 babies that were born to them, 92% were full-term and 93% were born within a healthy weight range!

Voices from The Stop

Thank you Hussein and Sharlyn for a wonderful experience of the community kitchen. I am grateful for all of your support and encouragement. By the way, the moussaka turned out really well! Makes me remind myself to not assume things and jump to negative conclusions, but to trust.

Lauren, Participant, Community Kitchens

While COVID-19 is no doubt hard on everyone, it’s especially hard on the most impoverished. Amidst all this despair, I am incredibly thankful for places like The Stop, which are going well over and beyond the call of duty and feeding so many people.

Participant, Economic Justice Project

I feel calm, less stressed, better. I am happier, and I feel less isolated. The weekly visits at Healthy Beginnings give me something to look forward to

Zola, Participant, Healthy Beginnings

Our impact 2019-2020

0
Hours our Community Advocates spent connecting peers to resources.
0
Weekly care packages prepared by our Emotional Wellness program

Community Voices

A first-person perspective from a Stop community member on what it takes to survive a pandemic when you live in poverty.

Our Work During COVID

Urban Agriculture

We had to reduce the number of people in our gardens, but Stop staff found new ways to keep on growing.

For those volunteers who couldn’t join us, we arranged small site visits to the gardens and delivered produce to the homes of those experiencing isolation or food insecurityespecially to the seniors who’ve stewarded the garden over many years.

Community Gardens

It was an eventful growing season at the Earlscourt Community Garden. At first, we weren’t sure if community gardens would be allowed under public health regulations, and when they re-opened, there was a two month backlog for seeds orders (and particularly devilish squirrels) to contend with.

Despite these setbacks, the team was able to grow over 900 pounds of organic produce and split the harvest with volunteers and The Stop’s food programs!

10 Metre Greens

Every year, The Stop hires 3-5 community members who experience barriers to employment. We provide them with training to grow organic microgreens in our green house, and support them in selling their wares at The Stop’s Farmers’ Market every Saturday (10 metres away, get it?)

We were thrilled to be able to hire 3 participants during the pandemic, and have them grow exclusively for our takeaway meals and the Good Food Market.

Voices from The Stop

People have been grateful to be in the garden with some semblance of normalcy. For many, this is the first place they’ve been to that isn’t a grocery store. You can really see that they miss being in this space

Yuan, Community Garden Coordinator

I really miss doing programming with the guys, and eating together. But the space is still there for them. I've had people meet their family there, that they haven't seen in years. They pick that as a spot to meet them.

Nah-hak, Mashkikii;aki’ing Coordinator.

I care about ecological and societal wellbeing, and it's a joy to witness this process from seed to harvest—to see the fruits of our labour reach The Stop’s community programs.

Ileana, 10 Metre Greens Participant

Our impact 2019-2020

0
Seedlings grown and given to 27 food groups across the city
0
Growing sessions at the Earlscourt, Global Roots, and Mashkikii;aki’ing gardens

Community Voices

During the COVID-19 outbreak, dozens of volunteers kept serving their community at The Stop. 

Thank you to our amazing volunteers!

The Stop began as a volunteer-run organization in the 1970s, and volunteers still play a vital role in every aspect of our work.

Many volunteers have experience with issues facing our community, such as unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. This creates a unique sense of community in a non-judgmental and empathetic environment.

From September 2019-August 2020, volunteers contributed 12,160 hours of their time to support our programs.

Get in touch!

Where we work

The Stop connects people to food and support at three sites in West Toronto. To access our programsor drop off suppliesvisit us below.

The Stop Community Food Centre

Our main location in Davenport West helps people meet their immediate needs with dignified and respectful community programs and services—all centered around fresh, nutritious, and nourishing food.

The Stop's Green Barn

The Stop’s Green Barn at 601 Christie St. is a unique urban agriculture hub.

It offers a greenhouse, community gardens, youth programming, a bake oven, a compost demonstration centre, and our year-round Farmers’ Market.

The Stop's Wychwood Open Door

Our newest location is a drop-in centre that serves precariously housed and socially isolated people in the St. Clair West community.

Along with meals, we offer life skills training, harm reduction services, and community advocacy.

Thank you for your support!

Thank you volunteers!

 

Akiko Date
Al Benn
Ali Shawkat
Alison Hutchison
Alison Schneider
Alison Brennan
Alvaro Travassos
Amy Domingo
Ana Martinez
Andrea Lord
Andrea Legarde
Andria Huston
Angela Goldman
Angelica Gonzalez
Ann Timpano
Ann Dugan
Anna Sottile
Anna Marchese
Annie Yuan
Apeksha Agarwal
Arminda Filipe
Art Samuel
Beatta) Jorgensen
Ben Yacob
Bijender Sorot
Bob Gagni
Bohfinai Konate
Brandy Squirrell
Brenda Finlayson
Cameron Maveal
Camilo Deller-Borgono
Carla Maggiotto
Cathy Gunn
Cecilia (Hye Won) Lee
Celia Satov
Chamique Crawford
Charles Yu
Chris Valentine
Christine Mehling
Christine Newman
Christine Von Gemmingen
Christine Charles
Christine Desrochers
Christopher Mouré
Connie Guccione
Cristian Torres
Danny Shortell
Daphne Chambers
Dave Johansen
David Stock
David Von Zuben
David Kirkwood
Deborah McGuiness
Deborah Kanga
Deniz Aykus
Derron Sutherland
Dev Barman
Diane Nielsen
Don Dicks
Eden Mohler
Eleanor Robson
Ellen Moody
Elsa Cisneros
Emilie O’Neill
Erica Kunimoto
Erin Freeman
Esther Campuzano
Eti Pazos
Federica Cecchini
Fermin Zelaya
Frances Scovil
Gail Smith
Galia Rosen
Gary Bain
Gelila Mesfin
Gilda Pikelin
Grace Walsh
Hannah Conover-Arthurs
Heather Shute
Honey Novick
Ilana Goldhamer
Ileana Murray
Isaac Laylor
Jake Skakun
James Graham
Jamie McGill
Jane Cowan
Jenessa Peters
Jerry Mcintosh
Jessica McQuoid
Jill Roussy
Jill Van de Kamer
Joanna Ebbutt
Joanne Leese
John Bush
Jorge Rojas
Jorry Cross
Josephine Solomons
Joshua Andrade
Judy MacPherson
Julie Tang
Juliet Francis
Karen McGill
Karen Haberman
Karina Caldas
Karla Misiak
Kate-Lynn Tsafantakis
Katie Sin
Kendra Delicaet
Kim Harrington
Kim Hoang Tran
Lais Donella
Laura Lozada
Laura McCallum
Laura Lamarche
Lauren Kolyn
Laurie Harada
LeRoy MacDonald
Lettehewet Nor
Lev Levner
Lewis Cardona
Liet Lee Lopez
Liliana Tenorio
Lily Bowman
Lily Breton
Linda Lohmus
Liza Thomson
Logan West
Lolita Fernandez
Lorraine Lecount
Luz Huaman
Lynn Horton
Madeleine Lavallee-Gordon
Manoj Ravindran
Marcia Peralta
Marco Mitchell
Margaret Laycock
Maria Larizza
Maria Bianchi
Maria Hersht
Mario Catenaccio
Marius Sarunas
Mary Michaelides
Matt Leiss
Mauricio Fuentes
Maya Holcer
Meg Lederer
Megan Hill
Michael Classens
Michael MacDonald
Michael Chapuis
Michelle Hayward
Miguel Sardinha
Mindi MacKinnon
Mohamed Jama
Narod Alcan
Nelie Guillermo
Nicole Baxter-Bradford
Nonna Rogers
Norhan Haroun
Nuala Kelly
Oliver Arbizu
Omar Elsharkawy
Patricia Hluchy
Patti Rennie
Paul Carney
Pedro Alvarado
Philippa Wood
Priya Jain
Ramdath Siew
Raquel Cunha
Rebecca Sorokin
Robin Dawson
Ronald Kisekka
Rosa Avelino
Rosa Lamanna
Rosalee Edwards
Rosemary Tomlinson-Morris
Rosetta Bruno
Ross Freeman
Sally Cho
Salma Saudi
Sanyo Lue-Kim
Sarah Booth
Shaheen Fa Mughal
Shannon Goodspeed
Shaquan Smalling
Sharon Currie
Sherodon Quashie
Stephanie Johnson
Sue Young
Susan Hoyle-Howieson
Suzanne Carlsen
Tayler Middleton
Tess Dugan-Knight
Theresia Andrews-Maas
Tim Watson
Tran Van Muoi
Valentina Castellini
Victoria Barford
William Woods
Winnie Wong
Wisam Al Abed
Wudasie Zemo
Yohan Yahyavi