Message from The ED and Chair
The past year has certainly been an eventful one for all of us at Neighbour to Neighbour. 2019 brought staff changes, property improvements and sophisticated program developments, while 2020 has given us the opportunity to show just how resilient and essential our services are. To say that we are proud of our team would be an extreme understatement.
Our work is continuously evolving, which always brings change, and we have had to say goodbye to some of our treasured employees: Heather Moroz, Danielle Boissoneau and Arazou Ali-Latif all left to pursue new employment in their fields while Shane Farraway and Maria Eugenia both completed their contracts. This has given us the opportunity to grow in new and exciting ways. Jennifer MacNeil has joined us as our new Manager, Administrative Services and brings with her strong organizational and interpersonal skills. Heryka Miranda, Caitlin Craven and Nicola Moore joined our growing team at the Hamilton Community Food Centre and continue to increase our impact every day. Valerie Louter joined our Development team, allowing us to implement a more focused approach to our fundraising.
Thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we were able to make much-needed repairs to our buildings and repave the driveway and exterior walls at our 28 Athens Street location.
We were also able to install a cooler and walk-in freezer in the foodbank, which has been a tremendous help in ensuring that shoppers are receiving the freshest and most nutrient-rich foods possible. Additionally, we were thrilled to build an outdoor pizza oven at our Hamilton Community Food Centre and install sound buffers in the community space, really enhancing the experiences of our program participants.
All of these improvements have brought welcomed growth in each of our program areas. Our Hamilton Community Food Centre offered even more programs focused on reducing stigma, building health and creating a stronger sense of belonging for our clients. The Jack Parent Reading and Math Success programs both continued to thrive in local schools. Our Family Services team was able to provide even more support through our Community Counselling program with over 3,000 face-to-face interactions. Over 600 volunteers completed nearly 33,000 hours of work and our Development department had a banner year with record-high revenue raised at our N2N Charity Golf Tournament and the Coldest Night of the Year Walk.
Our Emergency Food department saw the most change however, at the beginning of 2020. As the possibility of the COVID-19 virus in Canada became a reality, we initiated the proactive steps necessary to protect our clients, volunteers and staff. Our volunteers were asked to stay home and the Neighbour to Neighbour staff took to the frontlines, creating a new, socially-distant service model, ensuring that the foodbank could continue to serve those who need it most in the safest way possible.
We are making it work. Together, our staff team, the Board of Directors, our caring volunteers and our wonderfully supportive community donors are leading the way to an improved quality of life. We couldn’t be more thankful.