When asked if the Beach Interfaith lunches are still fairly well-attended, long-time volunteer Suzanne Beard offered a mixed reaction to the fact that the lunches are steadily drawing 50 to 70 regular diners.
“I would like to say that it’s not used that often, but with the economy the way it is, unfortunately we’ve seen an increase,” she said.
Beard, affiliated with Corpus Christi Catholic Church, does all the ordering for the lunch program, and is the Interfaith Committee’s liaison with the Daily Bread Food Bank, which supplies much of the food for the lunches. She said there is also support from community donations, including some staples such as coffee and bread from local business.
“We have community support from people like COBS and Starbucks,” she said.
Despite the fact the Beach is perceived as an affluent community, “in every community there’s pockets where there’s need.”
Beard pointed out that while the lunches are well-attended by those in need, it’s not all homeless people looking for a bite to eat. Others with limited income, seniors, and some people just looking for a little fellowship with their food attend the lunches regularly.
“It’s an opportunity not just to have lunch, but also to have a conversation with other people in a very non-judgmental environment,” she said.
Donations of food or money can be dropped at any of the church locations listed below. Those interested in helping out or looking for more information should phone 416-691-6869.
The Beach Interfaith Lunch Program runs Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., from Thanksgiving Monday until the Victoria Day weekend. Mondays are hosted at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, on Queen west of Woodbine; Tuesdays are at St. John’s Norway Anglican at Woodbine and Kingston, co-hosted with St. Nicholas Anglican; Wednesdays are at the Beaches Hebrew Institute on Kenilworth Avenue; Thursdays are hosted at St. Aidan’s Anglican at Queen and Silverbirch, by Beach United Church; and Fridays are at Kingston Road United Church on Kingston at Scarborough Road, co-hosted with St. Aidan’s.