Thursday, 30 October 2008

North America's ONLY Vegetarian Food Bank

Toronto is home to North America's ONLY vegetarian food bank! And they need help.

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.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Wonderful Winston and his girls

Well, in all the excitement over the past few months, I neglected to tell you all about the latest additions to the Animal Alliance office.

Amidst all the chaos with Annabell and her kittens -- Tony still needs a home = ( -- we received a frantic call from one of our volunteers, Andrea. She was contacted by the shelter that Annabell came from; they had two terrified cats that didn't eat for 10 days. The cats had to be force-fed by shelter staff just to keep them alive. Staff said that unless we could help, they would be forced to euthanize them. We said of course we'll help, we'll find space for them here. So our wonderful volunteer Morris drove with Liz to bring back two very scared little cats, Winston (in the pic) and his sister Molly.

Winston and Molly's story is a sad one. The couple shared their home with Winston and Molly for seven years. The wife died and the husband developed dementia. For a year, Winston and Molly lived with stress and loss before being surrendered to the shelter. Their stress continued weeks after they arrived here. Both had lost weight and could not cope with all the change. Gradually they came out of hiding but a little too late for Molly. She eventually succumbed to her stress; she developed kidney problems and stopped eating and eventually had to be humanely euthanized. With yet another loss of someone familiar, Winston had to figure out a way to cope on his own. His solution was to retreat again.

With all his brothers and mother gone, Tony was also feeling lonely. We decided to try Tony and Winston together. Long story short, about a week later we received yet another call from Andrea asking us to take in two more cats from the shelter to save them from the needle. So in came mommy Spice and her daughter Cajun. But it doesn't stop there -- oh no, there's always something else! In comes Justice, a 19-year-old cat, with terrible health and a whole lot of attitude. We eventually are able to integrate everyone, much to Winston's chagrin. But in just a short while, Winston realizes that this is now his new family. Now he has really come into his own, playing, grooming and sleeping with Cajun and Spice.

The sad news is that now Justice has to be put to sleep; her congestive heart failure has progressed to the point where it would be cruel to try to keep her alive. She wants to go, so we let her.

Now we are left with the task of finding a home for THREE adult cats -- it would be too hard for Winston to be separated from Cajun and Spice, to lose his family again. Please, pass along our plea for a home for three amazing, affectionate, adorable cats. It would be an instant family that I promise you'll love.