Neighours pitch in when shelves go bare

A map pointer with the image of a church
 on October 1, 2019

Supplies, pledges pour in for church’s food bank

It was Sunday afternoon and the Beeton Cupboard at St. Michael and All Angels, Toronto, was bare. The cupboard, named after Elizabeth Beeton, who died of liver cancer many years ago, has been serving the hungry for 40 years. But now there was a problem: the demand for food was increasing and there were not enough donors to provide more supplies. The food bank, which had been maintained and stocked by St. Michael’s parishioners through the years, was at a crossroads.

So we did the obvious thing: we asked our neighbours to help us feed our neighbours.

St. Michael and All Angels, located in the bustling community of St. Clair Avenue West and Wychwood Avenue, is seated in the heart of a neighbourhood that celebrates a rich and diverse group of ethnicities, religions, ages and financial situations. This is where the magic came into play. Within 48 hours of a post to the community social media page, the Beeton Cupboard’s barren shelves were heaving with food. More than that, we had more than $1,000 in pledges and a freezer on the way.

“We had no idea there was a food bank at the church!” “How can we help?” “Where can we send financial donations?” “Can you meet me at the church this evening for a donation drop?” These were some of more than 100 comments on the page within hours of its posting. Julian Back, the page’s host, made sure it was the first thing that people saw when they checked to find out what was happening in the neighourhood.

Media outlets called as well, including CBC Radio, which did a segment on its Fresh Air program.

The Jewish congregation that meets every second Saturday at St. Michael’s got in contact. Mitzvah, the art of giving, is a Jewish practice. Suddenly, our ministry became their ministry: we are doing ministry together, thanks be to God.

Sometimes it is easy to think about the many ways we can serve our community; that week, St. Michael and All Angels learned how ministry can be so much better when we admit our limitations and ask the community for help.


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