On Saturdays year-round, you’ll find the space beside our Moss Park Market bustling with activity. Neighbours greet one another, earnestly chatting over cups of coffee. Community members enthusiastically greet the Building Roots team at the market while choosing their favourite fruits and vegetables.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve grown a community gathering space that provides support, friendship-building, and fresh food. These days, our lineups for food are longer than they’ve ever been, and we are often the only resource for fresh food for many folks each week.
The cost of food, however, has skyrocketed, with inflation at a 40-year high. A third of Torontonians report going hungry at least once a week, with children among those numbers as well.
Despite stretching our budgets to the limit to provide accessible, dignified food options to our community, our food supplies no longer regularly meet demand.
That’s where you come in. Take action for your neighbours by helping us bring fresh food and community support to as many people in the Downtown East community as possible.
Hunger isn’t felt equally
Our small team and tremendously valued volunteers see firsthand that hunger isn’t felt equally. We recognize that we live in a country where colonialism, racism, ableism, and marginalization greatly determine who gets to access and accumulate wealth. Groups who face barriers to adequate income and safety nets are the exact same people who go without. Poverty, unemployment, and a lack of affordable housing push people into a state of food insecurity and hunger.
The Daily Bread Food Bank’s study Who’s Hungry 2021* , which profiles hunger in Toronto, found that 31% of adults reported going hungry at least once per week or more, and this was the case of 16% of children. 1 in 3 respondents did not eat for a whole day. Food prices have increased almost 11% year over year, and prices for fresh fruit and milk are up 13%, and lettuce is up 30%. Imagine trying to live on $8.00 a day to meet all your food and general needs. That’s what the average food bank client in Toronto is left with after paying rent and utilities. Not surprisingly the health and wellbeing for folks living on so little is greatly impaired.
People who cannot readily access food are more likely to experience higher risks of infectious diseases, mental health disorders, postpartum issues, and many chronic diseases. By providing weekly access to affordable, nutritious food, the Building Roots team is doing what we can to keep people out of the healthcare system, and creating opportunities for community connection based on respect, dignity and collective impact.
Through the Building Roots Market and our Moss Park Coalition program we are allied with the Downtown East Toronto communities and our partners to not only address immediate health and wellness needs, but also to push for action and opportunities that provide adequate and accessible income and housing.
Our incredible staff and volunteers do wonderful work each week providing a safe and supportive space in these unprecedented times. A weekly bag of fresh fruits and vegetables costs less than you would spend on a takeout lunch. On this Giving Tuesday, you can make an immediate impact on the well-being of our community.
We always appreciate cash donations, and we are also open to the donation of securities or mutual fund shares. With a donation of securities or mutual funds, capital gains tax does not apply, allowing you to give more and avoid paying capital gains taxes. Donate by December 31, 2022 to count towards your 2022 tax return.