Building Community and Belonging
Community members often first walk through our doors for a meal or a food hamper and then engage with our other programs. We can help them with perinatal supports, their taxes, getting ID, and refer them to other services that may be helpful for them.
We provide a holistic range of programs that connect community members with what they need where they are at, from basic meals to a stable network. We aim to empower our community members and build responsibility and care for one another.
The last year really pushed me to adapt to the changes thrown at me by surprise. I got laid off from work, a surprise pregnancy, and had to look for a new job to qualify for maternity leave. Being able to join Healthy Beginnings was a blessing.
Healthy Beginnings Program Participant
Healthy Beginnings is a perinatal program for new and expectant parents. The participants are on a low income and often experience a combination of challenging life circumstances such as single parenting, poor housing, mental health issues, marginalization, recent immigration, and language barriers.
The program runs on a weekly basis, and offers educational workshops and support from local health partners, a healthy meal, food vouchers for our Good Food Market, a childminding service, and the opportunity for participants to connect with one another.
Healthy food hampers were distributed from January to August 2022
Parents received our communication materials and supports
Grocery gift cards were provided, a total $26,040
Of participants indicated they made friends in the program
Community Advocacy Program
We understand that emergency food alone will not address poverty, so we empower people experiencing marginalization to help themselves and one other through our Community Action Program (CAP) at 1884 Davenport Rd and 729 St Clair Ave W.
CAP empowers people to challenge chronic income and food insecurity by building stronger community support networks, raising political consciousness, and taking direct action. The Community Advocacy Office is a peer-run project where trained advocates (who are also community members) provide information, referrals, and general assistance to fellow community members. All services are strictly confidential.
The Community Advocacy Office is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 1884 Davenport from 10 AM to 2 PM. At 729 St. Clair West, the office is open Wednesdays from 11:30 AM-1 PM, and Thursdays from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
Being a Peer Advocate has been a formative experience. I learned how to be an active and useful participant in my community. I take great pride in helping community members navigate obscure systems of aid, as well as providing services to folks who, like myself, may experience barriers elsewhere.
Norhan, Program Participant
Everyone has been able to access the services provided by The Stop through the advocacy office even during COVID, community members have gained information they wouldn’t be able to without the office being open.
Misty, Program Participant
The Debbie Jenkins Tax Clinic
The Stop works to increase our community’s access to good food with a variety of different approaches. But we know that the single most effective way to improve a person’s food security is to improve their access to income.
Every year, 30% of people accessing Employment Insurance and 97% of people experiencing homelessness aren’t able to file their tax return and miss out on millions of dollars in eligible benefits as a result. That is why Debbie Jenkins, a dedicated community member who passed away in 2021, set up a tax clinic at 1884 Davenport Rd.
From March 1 to April 28, 2023, we are ready to support community members looking to file taxes and learn more about the process, how to file and more.
Tax returns processed
Average net income of program participants
Returned to community members
Community members served in 2022
Our Volunteer Program
Volunteers play a vital role in every aspect of our work.
Many of our 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. Volunteering at The Stop has had an important impact on mental health, especially during the pandemic.
We currently have over 250 active volunteers who support our programs.
Of our volunteers are over 55 years old
Agree that volunteer work makes them feel connected to their community
Believe their volunteer work has made a difference in the community
Feel their volunteer work is an important part of their social life
Many of our community members are dealing with social isolation and lack of connection to their community.
During the pandemic, we supported our neighbours from afar by distributing activity packages and personal care items.
We currently host an art therapy table twice a week. We also host a separate, small support group once a week. Here, our community members can talk about lighter topics to much heavier topics like grief, abuse and losing friends and family.
Total care packages distributed between Jan – Aug 2022
Zines on social services and self care information distributed in 2022
Average number of community members visiting our art therapy table
Community Kitchens at 1884 Davenport and 729 St. Clair West is our community cooking program, which runs by season to provide the best experience of what is fresher, accessible, and on the budget in Ontario.
The program offers the opportunity for participants to connect with one another, develop food skills, and to celebrate cuisines from all over the world. During each of the sessions, participants, volunteers, and staff gather to prepare and enjoy, all together, delicious and nutritious meals.