12 Dec 2016
My husband Ross and I live in Liberty Village. It’s a 43-acre planned community mixed with residential, commercial and retail uses. If you’re in Toronto, you’ll have heard about the neighborhood. You might have heard that it’s a hot spot of 20 and 30 something young professionals working and living in the urban core. You might have heard that we have a very large population of dogs and a problem with people not picking up after them. You may not have heard that we have our own, very active 4000+ member Facebook page. People often ask me how I like living downtown and in a condo. “I love it”, is always my pact answer. It wasn’t until this past Thanksgiving that I realize just how much.
Volunteers from Liberty Village Cares at Eva’s Phoenix
Last week, I discovered from a friend & neighbour, the Liberty Village Cares Facebook page. Newly formed, the group endeavours to help those who need help and to create a sense of community in a place, where, traditionally, one can exist anonymously in the condo jungle.
Just over a week before Thanksgiving, the creator of the group, Jagger Long, put out a call for members to come together to help cook Thanksgiving dinner for 50 youths living in a youth shelter, just down the street, another neighbour. The call was for donation of food items for the dinner, non-disposable dishes and cutlery and travel mugs and movie passes to offer the youths. It was a call for 8 turkey cooks, side-dish cooks, and bakers of pies and treats. By the time I checked in, the Facebook thread was so long that one member took it on herself to create a spreadsheet to put up on Google Docs to organize the group’s efforts.
As urban dwellers, most of the residents do not own cars, so it was determined that drivers were required to pick-up and deliver the food and donated items. My friend, Lanja, got in touch with BMW and was able to secure 50 stainless steel travel mugs to offer to the youths as gifts. BBW International donated the 50 movie passes. These are a couple of items that had been on their wish list.
At the designated time, Ross and I delivered the cooked 16 pound turkey, stuffing and gravy. When we arrived the place was already buzzing with activity. People were dealing with the decoration, while others were in the kitchen discussing how to keep everything warm in the only domestic oven. I looked around and there were smiling faces everywhere. The residents of Eva’s Phoenix and Liberty Village were working together to seamlessly put on this community dinner.
It took over 50 people to put this together in just over one week. Most didn’t know each other, only on Facebook. Those who couldn’t be around to help donated money to put towards the purchase of needed items. It dawned on me that the people who participated had two things in common, they lived in Liberty Village and they wanted to help a neighbour.
Now when I’m going to be asked how I like living in Liberty Village, my answer will be, “I love my community!”
Eva’s is an amazing organization that helps abused, homeless and at-risk youths learn work skills and to eventually live independently. As far as we witnessed, they are doing a great job nurturing these young people to become productive members of society. Check them out and support them.