Fort York Food Bank. Annual Open House. 21 November 2018.

Community Partner Profile

The Chocolate Factory Lofts

Photo (Left to Right)
Karlene Thompson, Mary Pike, Owen Bury, Danielle Feidler, Jenna Hofbauer, Tom Marjanovic
The residents of the Chocolate Factory Lofts are committed to making their presence on the West Queen West strip more than just another new condo development, but as a dedicated neighbour helping to make the lives of everyone in their community better.

This commitment to the neighbourhood was strengthened when Chocolate Factory Loft resident Jenna Hofbauer happened upon the FYFB outreach booth at the Art in the Park event in Trinity Bellwoods Park in September and was struck by the impact FYFB was having in the downtown Westside. "I was really excited about what FYFB was doing to help people living in need in our community and immediately knew we had to get involved," said Jenna. She brought up the idea of having a food drive for Thanksgiving with the resident's association board and received strong support for the initiative from her neighbours in the building.

Bins set up in the building were quickly filled with food, clothing and books to help FYFB through the busy Thanksgiving period. The success of the Thanksgiving drive led Jenna to organize a special Holiday Season drive in December where in addition to the donation of food, clothing and books, the Chocolate Lofts residents donated toys for the more than 420 children who received FYFB's services in November. Bins are also a permanent fixture in the community's recycling room and regularly fill with clothing, books and housewares for FYFB.

The Chocolate Factory Lofts resident's Board asked FYFB to speak at their February residents meeting to let everyone know the impact their contributions were making at FYFB and how to outline other ways to become more involved in the programs that are helping ensure downtown Westside residents are getting the food and support they need to live.

"We're tremendously grateful for the enthusiasm, energy and contributions of the Chocolate Loft residents," said Douglas Anweiler, a volunteer director at FYFB since 2002 who spoke with the residents. "With a year-over-year growth of more than 35% in the demand for our programs, it is committed partners like the Chocolate Lofts that are helping to ensure that we are there to meet the growing demand for FYFB's services within our community."

"FYFB is a great way for the Chocolate Factory Lofts to give back to our community and effect positive change within the neighbourhood," said Danielle Feidler, president of the resident's Board. "We're thankful to have an organization like FYFB active in our neighbourhood to ensure no one goes hungry. It was great to hear that our donations in support of the food, community kitchen and drop-in centre are making a difference."

After the meeting residents had an opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding poverty within the community and to talk about new ways to get involved to help meet the challenges of people living in need. "I am pretty sure that we will get a bowling team together for the FYFB Bowlathon in May," said Jenna. "Several people already expressed interest and there was talk about a challenge to the Candy Factory Lofts."

It's the kind of energy and creativity that are at the heart of a great city and make volunteer organizations like FYFB successful. Connects will report back on the bowling challenge in our May issue.

Volunteer orientation sessions are held at 2:00pm on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Click here to register online or drop by the Food Bank for more information.

photography courtesy of Claire Del Net

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