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GainShare DEI: Giving Back to Our Community

Last week, our Toronto staff volunteered at the Allan Gardens Food Bank, an independent charity run by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers whose mission is to combat food insecurity in the downtown core of the city. With food bank usage climbing exponentially in the last few years, the need to provide support to this small organization is even more important. According to a report by The University of Toronto, 5.8 million people, including 1.4 million children experience food insecurity annually. Food insecurity is a systemic issue that can happen to anyone due to a variety of factors including; higher living costs, expensive housing, and low-wage jobs.

This was GainShare’s second year volunteering at the food bank, part of our DEI initiative to give back to our community. This year, as part of our donation, our staff collected 4 large bags of feminine hygiene products after hearing about the need for young women at the shelter

When our first team arrived at the Food Bank in the morning, we helped unload thousands of pounds of food including apples, cabbages, beets, tinned food, and frozen meat. Then our afternoon team was responsible for distributing the food. The customers were able to pick and choose their fruit and vegetable options, tinned or packaged products, and proteins with both vegetarian and Halal options.

What struck many of us was the range of people we saw at the food bank. It was a cross section of multiple nationalities, from students to seniors, single people to large families. We were told that many of the people were working poor. People who had jobs, but just couldn’t afford food.

At the end of the day, after 3 hours, we served over 300 people in person, representing many more, as people collected food for extended families and multiple generations living under one roof. There were also a team of volunteer staff on bikes, who dropped off food to people who were unable to come to the food bank.

The team of staff and volunteers were amazing - efficient, tactical, but kind and warm to us as well as the people who visited the food bank. Treating everyone with dignity and respect.

Grateful for the experience and education it has provided our staff. Grateful we have charities like the Allan Gardens Food Bank to help the most vulnerable in our city.

About the author

Anna V Fowles, Executive Vice President, Performance Creative

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