Fred Victor Friends Restaurant held a special, free brunch on Wednesday, November 16. More than 200 people of all ages, races and abilities showed up and walked or wheeled along the food service line to pick up fresh fruit, French toast, bacon and other wonderful hot items.
Thanks to 16 Manulife volunteers who signed up to prepare and serve the meal, it was a great, noisy, upbeat event. A good-hearted young woman from Manulife “gamely” donned a turkey costume and handed out candy canes to restaurant customers. There were raffles for $10 Tim Hortons cards and thanks to the excellent Katy Knott from Just Socks Foundation, a pair of winter socks for each person.
One of the Manulife brunch servers, Sherman Sum (above left), is a business analyst. He said, “I went to Catholic schools and so I learned certain values.” All his adult life he has volunteered and now teaches his children the same values: voluntarism, compassion and action for others.
Manulife volunteers came early in the morning and were tutored in the basics of being in a kitchen and serving meals and by 10 a.m. kick-started the fun. Volunteers toured the 145 Queen Street East Housing and Community Services site. And as a contribution to the delicious brunch, raffles, and the food program, the company also made a donation of $2,500.
From a corporate perspective, Fred Victor provides a good team building, hands-on community experience for a company’s staff. And Fred Victor was able to provide an experience and information that helped Manulife volunteers see how diverse the face of poverty is in Toronto.
Fred Victor becomes a stronger force for change when we are able to connect with corporations, groups, and individuals who want to learn what poverty means in Toronto. We need ongoing corporate connection and support to end homelessness.