Published in the Spring 2005 issue • The In-Group
Parkdale Food Front
The Street Team
Parkdale Food Front (PFF) is a Toronto-based group that distributes food to people on the streets. We are students, artists, chefs and community outreach workers. Made up of about 10 people, PFF cooks warm, nutritious meals and gives out winter gear to people sleeping in the cold. PFF also organizes donation drives for local groups that help the homeless, psychiatric survivors, youth and other street-involved communities.
We are a group of friends who have lived downtown for years now and have had enough of walking by the homeless, feeling unable to help. It’s time for all of us to realize that these people are our neighbours, whether housed or not, and we need to include them.
Picking Up The Pieces
Our group feels that feeding the homeless should not be left to the city’s social service infrastructure. While there are shelters, soup kitchens, community health centres and harm-reduction projects in place, they are often strained by the immense need of Toronto’s homeless population, which was declared a national disaster a few years ago.
PFF believes that each community member is responsible for getting involved and doing what they can.
Food Glorious Food
The meals we serve are all vegan, which means they contain no animal products. In the winter, most of the meals are chilis and stews, packed with veggies, vitamins and protein. We also give out bagels, juice and fresh fruit.
We do canned food drives among friends and family to get donations, and we raised some money at a fundraiser we held called Soul Kitchen. When there isn’t enough money from donations, we all chip in to buy the food, which we cook and package at our apartments.
Sharing Food = Revolution
We believe the act of taking money we earn at various jobs and spending it on others who are not family or friends is a revolutionary act. We live in an individualist society, under the illusion that we all have the same ability to pull ourselves up out of poverty if we really try. In reality, rags-to-riches stories are not very common. The members of PFF have all felt financial struggle in some form. We were always there to help each other out when we needed to, and usually the only way we could do that was by sharing food.
It’s been just over a year since we started and we are already seeing an increase in hungry people. There was a time when we had to leave before everyone was fed. But through fundraising we now have a more consistent budget and food donations, so we can continue to meet the growing demand as word spreads on the street about the group with the best veggie stew in town.
Check out our site to see our weekly updates and wish list, or to find out how you can get involved. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.