I have written many articles on the good, charitable volunteers of the Beach and East Toronto. History is not only what has transpired many decades ago, it is what is happening now in our present time. One hundred and twenty five years ago, all of the religious organizations and institutions were in the forefront of helping those less fortunate. In this article I want to enlighten our East End community of the work our religions are doing now — their tradition carries on. There will be another article on this subject later and I can’t single out one person or group who do kind, charitable works because the number of volunteers who help their fellow Beachers are well over 100.
The Beach Interfaith Group has been around for close to 20 years. They are a group of tireless, anonymous workers who give up hundreds of hours of their time to help prepare lunch for their fellow community members during the better part of the year. These lunches are free and everyone is welcome, no matter what their religion, nationality or social position. They are welcome with open arms and civility. The volunteer lunches start at 10 a.m. and last until around 1 p.m. They start at Corpus Christi on Monday, on Tuesday they alternate between St. Aidan’s and St. Nicholas, on Wednesday they are at the Beach Synagogue, Thursday they are at Beach United, Friday they are at Kingston Road United, and every first Saturday they are at Grant African Methodist. History in the Beach is where every person is made to feel part of our community by helping their fellow persons.
At Calvary Baptist Church, they have the Grace Pascoe Food Bank in honour of its founder and others. This food bank is again run by fellow Beachers and East Enders who volunteer their time and effort to help those less fortunate.
There is also a program called Out of the Cold, which gives shelter during the winter months to a couple of dozen people overnight following a community supper at St. Aidan’s in the Beach.
These are just some examples of the good being done by the people involved with our places of worship.
History tells us that in this neighbourhood in the past, all of the religious denominations went out of their way to help others by opening up their hearts, wallets and buildings.
This column is dedicated to all of the anonymous, charitable people who have given up so much of their time and effort to help others. They do not do this for recognition, they do it because they think it is the right thing to do. Charity comes from the heart and these Beachers, in my opinion, have some of the biggest hearts of the city. In April, we will have a special ceremony to honour these wonderful volunteers and workers — giving them the recognition they truly deserve, even if they don’t ask for it.
Gene Domagala is a local historian and “Unofficial Mayor of the Beach.”