We are all, no doubt, very hopeful and optimistic for the resolve of the pandemic we have been living with for the past 10 months now. I am certain brighter and better days are ahead and although an extraordinary number of fellow Canadians have been personally affected from very uncertain situations, it is my sincere wish we can all rally together to help each other in 2021.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it might seem dim for now however, with each passing month, the light will keep on becoming brighter until the day it will shine brightly and steadily.
Our “new normal” in 2020 required us to find alternatives to safely deliver our programs in spite of rules, regulations and hurdles. I am very proud to say we found them!
Re-inventing the wheel that has driven our Programs in order to keep us and those we help safe was challenging but we found the answers, one step at a time.
Our A Snack at a Time and An Apple a Day Programs were not able to be delivered from March to September due to school closures however, we worked with Eden Food For Change Food Bank by helping them to feed the increased numbers of children and families depending on them for their daily nutrition.
A Snack at a Time was able to return in late September, intermittently, as per school attendances.
We supplied many home-sewn children’s masks to Peel Children’s Aid Foundation and one of the schools we work with regularly.
Breakfast With Santa Foundation was very instrumental in “partnering up” the 905 Raptors food assistance program started by the Raptors with community organizations also assisting with hunger relief such as Eden Food For Change Food Bank, Peel Children’s Aid, Luso Canadian Charitable Society and Feed Mississauga.
Our “A Morning with Santa” Christmas Breakfasts were very different this year. With Covid restrictions and not being able to host families, we delivered food hampers to families in need as well as one toy for each child in the family.
In total we delivered 203 Food Hampers and 410 toys while observing safety rules and regulations due to Covid19.
The families we helped were registered with us through the following community organizations:
- Eden Food For Change Food Bank
- Lancaster Public School
- Brian W. Fleming Public School
- Peel Children’s Aid Foundation
We received an outstanding donation from Amazon Logistics in baby and toddler’s clothing, diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, baby wash, washcloths, ladies and men’s hygienic items. With those donations we were able to ensure those who needed them received them through Feed Mississauga’s Just 4 U Box Project.
As an initiative to bring awareness to our work in the community while engaging in an “at a distance” interactive venture, Breakfast with Santa Foundation started the “In the Spirit of Thanks-giving Contest” as well as “Merry and Bright Christmas Contest Mississauga”. Both contests were very successful and our judges had the privilege to observe very beautiful and imaginative home outdoor decorations for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
These ventures will become yearly events.
Our Backpack 4 Kids Campaign was extremely successful with 298 backpacks full with school supplies being delivered to children in need. In the process we were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to acquire Avery Products Canada sponsorship going forward in terms of obtaining school supplies for this campaign.
Breakfast with Santa Foundation’s Coats 4 Kids Campaign, however delayed due to quarantine requirements, will see a lot of winter coats, jackets, pants, hats, mitts and socks ready to be delivered within the next couple of weeks thanks to the sponsorship of $5,000.00 from RBC Dominion Securities Peel Region.
Due to the generosity of Mr. John Cosgrove of Global Distribution and Warehousing, a dream of 33 years has been realized…Breakfast With Santa Foundation has its Operations Centre! Mr. Cosgrove has very generously agreed to a one-year-rent-free absolutely wonderful space where we can, finally, work towards being able to reach more hungry children and families.
In our “new home” we have created a very special room (Ilda’s Room) where we “house” children’s winter gear and our Baby Layette Program will start as of January 11 of this year. The Baby Layette Program will be able to help teen moms/dads, single moms/dads with donations of basic baby needs once baby arrives.
We will be able to receive donations throughout the year for both of the above programs.
I am very proud of my team who have never ceased to believe in our work in feeding hungry children and their families and worked to deliver our programs under very different and at times challenging situations. To my working Board of Directors a great big THANK YOU!
Without our sponsors, supporters and donors who stepped up to help and gave us their unquestionable trust a very big and heartfelt THANK YOU!
Last but not least by any means, to the heart of our Charity/Foundation…our extraordinary volunteers and members whose dedication, belief in our work, generosity and empathy are equal to none, my immense gratitude. You are beautiful Community Angels! THANK YOU!
This past year has taught us all many lessons and I, for one, am no different.
I’ve seen the wonderful co-operation between charities, organizations, companies and individuals coming together to help one another and our neighbours in need.
I’ve seen families understanding the meaning of unconditional love and how the most precious gifts are health and family.
I’ve seen the best in people despite hardship and pain.
As 2021 unveils, our commitment to the children of our community is stronger than ever. We shall draw strength from each other and surpass as “This, too, shall pass”.
Wishing you all a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.
Maria de Fátima Esteves