As one of Toronto’s lowest per capita income communities, our neighbouring areas, Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park, is experiencing a serious food shortage during the Covid pandemic.

The Neighbourhood Office in Thorncliffe Park (TNO) has started a focused effort to support 400 families and seniors that are deemed at risk .  The initiative was originally started by TNO (The Neighbourhood Organization, not for profit) and lead volunteer and local resident Aamir Sukhera.  The food drive has grown exponentially over recent months, supporting over 800 families and 250 seniors and is now known as the TNO Food Collaborative.  

Team Toy Drive decided to join their fight as we believe our mandate is to help our neighbouring community whether it is with toys or food. With the help of corporate, local and individual donations, the Toy Drive has been able to secure over $275,000 to date in goods and monies for the TNO Food Collaborative.  The mayor even pitched in to help! 

Aamir Sukhera – TNO Food Collaborative Lead

I would like to thank Leaside Life for providing us a forum to say a big thanks to our friends at the Leaside Toy Drive for their indispensable contributions in not only feeding hundreds and hundreds of families every month but also with the overall creation of the new foodbank in Thorncliffe Park, the TNO Food Collaborative.

Without the generosity of the corporations you reached out to and the overwhelming support of the people in Leaside and Davisville that you were able to generate, these families would have gone hungry over the first wave of the pandemic. While we pray that there is not a second wave, at least now thanks largely to you, we have solid infrastructure in place to feed our community (we are already the 3rd largest member of Daily Bread Food Bank!).

We would not have got here without you Team Toy Drive. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your contributions and lasting relationships which allow the foodbank to be sustainable ongoing. Most of all though, thank you for all your time and for literally being side-by-side with us during the dark and desperate early times. We did not know what to do and you gave us the knowledge, support, and motivation to keep going.

It is my hope that this letter can help to initiate other affluent areas and non-affluent areas in Toronto to develop similar relationships.

We know that you will need to work harder than ever in this difficult year to raise funds to buy and deliver gifts for all the primary school children in our community. Please know that you can count on our support to be side-by-side with you to help you reach your goal.

The Toy Drive would like to thanks to Aamir for his kind words regarding the Leaside Toy Drive’s efforts to help the TNO Food Collaborative get established but it is he and his TNO team that are the real heroes. And while we are proud of our contributions, we also want to acknowledge the generosity of the entire Leaside and Davisville community as well as the incredible work of individual volunteers such as Leaside Life’s own Susan Scandiffio.

It is estimated that through our collective efforts we have generated over $275,000 in both in-kind and cash donations. Further to that, we have left the TNO Food Collaborative with many sustainable processes and business relationships with food manufacturers (e.g. Agrocrop who donated over 50,000 lbs. of lentils and Coca-Cola Ltd. who donated 86,000 Minute Maid juice boxes) and retailers such as Loblaws Redway, among many others.

Due to the pandemic, we know that physically hosting 150 people at the Leaside Pub is not viable for our fundraising event this year. We are investigating other ways to raise funds to continue our tradition of giving gifts to over 4,000 children this December.  Additional details will be shared in the coming weeks via Leasidetoydrive.ca.

Our first step to bridge the gap is to launch our GoFundMe campaign much earlier (link to GoFundMe campaign is on Leasidetoydrive.ca), with an ambitious goal of raising $10,000. For this to be a success, we of course are leaning on the residents and businesses of Leaside and Davisville to generously support our campaign.  Finally, we would like to extend a request for assistance on corporate donations. We thank the generous people at Spin Master who have provided incredible toys for the children for the last two years and we look forward to working with them again. If your company is able to donate or you have a contact who may be able to help, please reach out to us at contact@leasidetoydrive.ca as we would love to work with more great corporate partners to deal with this growing need.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support – Team Toy Drive