By Hilary Caton
It’s a match made in community-partnership heaven.
As of April 1, the Parkdale Community Food Bank (PCFB) and the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) will be under the same roof.
The PCFB plans to move into the basement at PARC will also merge with the Sorauren Food Bank, which occupied the space initially.
“We’re always looking for synergies with different organizations … and when the possibility of moving in there was brought to our attention, we had to check it out,” said Ben Trister, the chairperson for the PCFB.
“We’ve long been interested in broadening the services our members have access to and this is a way of jump-starting their access, instead of waiting for us to create services.”
The reason for the move, according to Trister, is the rising cost of rent at their current space, which eats up roughly 15 per cent of their budget.
The culmination of the two organizations in one space will give PCFB members access to the social services programs PARC has to offer, which would be beneficial to them, added Trister, because both organizations “serve a lot of the same people,” he said.
The PCFB recently received a donation worth $19,250 from the Boulevard Club’s fundraising gala that took place in December to help benefit the program.
“We run a tight budget, so making this move was very important to us. For us, saving a fair amount of money on rent helps sustain the organization, which was one of the factors (in moving into PARC). We want this organization to last so we can continue helping people,” Trister told the Villager.
Adding the food bank is a smart choice not only for PARC, but for the members of both organizations.
“Any time we can have an ally under our roof that we can work more closely with, we think that’s a good thing,” said Victor Willis, the executive director of PARC.
“I think they’ve done an amazing job of creating a great and stable organization that’s volunteer-run and because we are so committed to having great partners and working together on grants and other activities, we’re thrilled to be able to provide a space.”
Trister said the transition from their King Street West location to 1499 Queen St. W. will be as smooth as possible and does not anticipate closing the food bank during its hours of operation to accommodate the move.
“We won’t miss a beat, we have teams lined up,” Trister said.
This article was published in Inside Toronto