I was sent the article below over e-mail and recently had a brief phone conversation with Malan Joseph, the founder of the food bank. He's a wonderful and modest man, eager to help those in need. He said that even though they specialize in vegetarian food, everyone (including meat-eaters) who asks for help is given food. Since no one is turned away, they are in urgent need of donations. If anyone would like to donate food or if anyone has contacts in the food industry, please call Malan at the number below.
Canada's only vegetarian food bank is barely five months old and already serving more than 200 people from two locations, its founders say.
"We've been very busy," says Jessica Smith.
"And I have a feeling with the economy doing what it's doing, we may get more." Smith, a vegetarian, helped set up the food bank with Malan Joseph in May. It now serves 45 families, or about 220 people, from locations at 2370 Midland Ave. and 2400 Finch Ave. W.
Joseph is a Catholic but his wife worships at the same Hindu temple as Smith. He says he saw the need for the food bank as waves of Hindu immigrants moved to the city but had trouble making ends meet. They went to food banks but, as strict vegetarians, they could not use much of what they were given.
Smith says much of the fresh fruits and vegetables come from a Milton-area farm operated by a community of Sikhs for the sole purpose of donating the produce to charities and food banks. The group prefers to remain anonymous, she says.
The food bank is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Finch location and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Midland.
Anyone interested in helping can call 416-744-4357.