‘Meals to go’ comes to a halt

Volunteers from Community Strong

After seven months in operation, Community Strong, a grassroots organization which has been providing weekend meals to shut-in seniors in the Greater Toronto Area, has ended its food delivery service.

Its last meals went out on Thanksgiving Day.

Recipients were told several day before that the community meal initiative was coming to an end.

But many seniors who looked forward to receiving well prepared hot meals on the weekend from ” Meals to Go,” as the community service called itself, are hoping that they will soon be welcoming  back the volunteers who delivered the food packages to their homes.

However, Danea Peart, a longtime member of the Jamaican Canadian  Association (JCA) one of the founders of Community Strong, could not say if or when the service will resume.

In a note  from Community Strong delivered with the last meal,  recipients were told: ” We will inform you of any new initiatives we design  for your benefit.”

(L) Elaine Thomnpson and Danea Peart

And in an interview, Peart told  The Caribbean Camera that funding for the community food initiative  had run out.

” Already, the drivers who delivered the meals are saying that they miss  the programme and the chefs are saying that they miss the programme. But we are just a grassroots organization which was responding to the needs of the community as volunteers,” she  said.

” Now Community Strong is looking at other options,” she said.

” Our biggest challenge is to determine what are the sustainable options” she noted.

Adaoma Paterson, president of  the JCA,  told The Caribbean Camera that the Community Meal Initiative,  had started earlier this  year with an idea from Peart and Elaine Thomnpson, another JCA member.

Paterson said  they were both concerned that with the COVID-pandemic,things were going to get tough for many people ” since the government has shut down almost everything.

“They said they would be willing to do something with the JCA to  help people in need  and there are some chefs who will be willing to cook.” 

” So we formed a little team and after advertising our Initiative in a flyer and receiving requests, we did our first meal on March 20 last and for that weekend (March 20-22) we basically cooked and packaged everything  and set up station in the lobby of the Jamaican Canadian Centre.”

The Initiative  has produced more than  12,000 meals.