Feed Scarborough in 2018 started out as a small organization handing out holiday hampers during the month of December. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 Pandemic hit in March 2020 that Feed Scarborough became such a vital social service in Scarborough. They’re now serving +3000 of our neighbours every week and the numbers are growing weekly.
Suman Roy, the founder of Feed Scarborough, quickly got together a team when other food banks were being shut down due to the Pandemic - right when the demand for food assistance rose quickly with layoffs and lockdowns. Suman Roy and some friends put some money on the table and started delivering groceries to over 1000 households who were previously dependent on then shut down food banks.
Now Feed Scarborough operates 5 food banks, a 3 day a week mobile healthy meal program out of a food truck, 3 community gardens, leads the vaccine initiative in Scarborough southwest, has weekly educational initiatives, and supports a co-op student program - all staffed by 5 people operating with a few short term grants, community donations, and the labour of incredible volunteers. Their service area is across south Scarborough. Every week roughly 150 volunteers serve 4500 Scarborough residents. Remember that when we say 4500 residents we are talking about children too, as 1 in 2 children in our community are living in poverty.
Feed Scarborough has recently opened up their free community grocery store! This “grocery store model” is based on the idea that choice matters. Our neighbours in need should be able to choose what they’re bringing home to their families for dinner. Each guest is given a shopping card which are loaded with points based on their household size. Guests shop at the grocery store with their household point budget in mind and check out with our cashiers. Most food banks offer pre packaged bags which don’t account for folks' cultural tastes, allergies and likes and dislikes. The grocery store model respects the guest’s dignity and allows for an appointment system thus eliminating long lineups that can be stigmatizing and cold!