When I was 12 years old, homelessness was something I had been passionate about for a long time, but I had no idea how to make a difference…even a dent. I launched FeedTO in December 2015 to distribute hot meals to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
The first FeedTO had three objectives:
1. Feed people experiencing homelessness downtown. I spent the morning driving (I didn’t drive) on the streets of Toronto in with the Rancho Relaxo food truck delivering hot, freshly prepared meals to those in need.
2. Use social media. Using the hashtag #FeedTO, I shared what I was doing and was able to raise awareness about homeless and inspire people to carry out similar acts of compassion and kindness in their own way.
3. Feed more people. We drove around the downtown core throughout the morning and at lunchtime parked the food truck in Liberty Village where we sold lunch for a set price – pay what you can – to people living and working in the neighbourhood. All proceeds from lunch were donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank to feed even more people in our city.
By the end of the day, more than 100 meals were distributed, #FeedTO was a top trending hashtag and almost $2000 was donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
What can one person do? A whole lot.
FeedTO grew out of the notion that giving back starts close to home and that to strengthen our communities, we need to give where we live.
I am so excited to hit the streets of Toronto with FeedTO for a new day of giving on February 11th 2019 – Monday on the week of Valentines Day – the week of love and coming together. FeedTO grew out of the notion that giving back starts close to home and that to strengthen our communities, we need to give where we live. In recognizing that it takes more than just food to help someone in need and experiencing homelessness, so here are my objectives for FeedTO this year:
- Distribute 100 care-packages to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. I am so grateful to have partnered with incredible companies who believe in the same thing I do – give where you live. The care-packages will include of granola bars (thank you KIND Snacks), gloves (thank you A&W), socks (thank you Canadian Tire), dog food as needed (PetSmart), toothbrushes and toothpaste (thank you, my dentist, Dr. Sheldon Rotman), homemade cookies and sandwiches (me and my family) and more.
- Use social media. I love that at the touch of our fingertips, we can share what we’re passionate about and what we’re doing. Social media’s presence in our lives has only grown since my first FeedTO in 2015 (hello Instagram and Snapchat) and you know that I’m going to use it as an opportunity to showcase the power of social media for social good. Naturally, we are using #FeedTO to raise awareness not just about what I’m doing, but also to raise awareness about homelessness AND to inspire other people to carry out similar acts of kindness.
- Inspire others to give back. The big goal of #FeedTO is to inspire other people to take action and give back in their own community. For other people to see this and say “If she can do it, I can do it too.” Ever since I was nine, my motto has been little things add up to make a big difference. And this remains especially true for this campaign.
Homelessness is something that I have seen in every big city I have been to. I know it’s not just a local issue, it is every local’s issue. And while it is on the agenda of every local city council, it is a deeply personal circumstance for each and every person that is out there. FeedTO is about more than recognizing the issue off homelessness – it’s about recognizing the people experiencing it. I cannot give them a bed, a roof over their head or a job, so I am setting out to give them what I can.