'Source of joy': Toronto man making dozens of donation drop-offs to help stop food insecurity
TORONTO -- A Toronto engineer compelled to address food insecurity has started his own non-profit to coordinate and deliver food donations.
“Every time [I made] a delivery, a drop off, an outreach, it was just a source of joy, and for me if something felt great like that, why not keep going,” Russell Abelido told CTV News Toronto Saturday.
Abelido is the founder and managing director of Stand Together Canada.
During the pandemic, Abelido started giving back by collecting donations and giving meals to health-care workers on the front lines. The project grew and evolved to the point where he’s made at least 75 drop offs to 65 organizations, and raised $250, 000 worth of food and transportation donations.
The work has even inspired businesses like the East India Company to step-up and make a contribution. On Saturday it provided 4,000 pounds worth of rice, flour and lentils below cost to Stand Together Canada for three women’s and youth shelters.
“It means the world honesty. In these dark times. This is one of the beautiful things that’s come out of it, people coming together. We just feel really fortunate that we can help in some way,” said owner and director Sapna Jain.
To the GTA organizations on the receiving end, the donations mean a lot.
360 Kids in Richmond hill serves 3,500 young people facing issues from homelessness to human trafficking.
During the crisis the organization said it’s had to shift bringing food to clients and struggled raising money.
“Providing food for young people in need is essential because that doesn’t change with the pandemic,” said CEO Clovis Grant Clovis.
At Toronto’s Humewood House, which works with mothers, babies and girls as young as 13, having the food helps fill gaps left by fewer community resources and closed food banks.
“Our clients are going to be so excited, we were so happy about it,” said community supervisor Tamara Benain.
Abelido said over the past few months he’s learned the pandemic has amplified food insecurity.
“But the other thing I realized, is that there are a lot of good people. It’s amazing to see that genuine, kindness from everybody,” Abelido said.