A CHANCE ENCOUNTER


I’d like to thank you for a favour you did me in autumn of 2019. Yes, you.


I had just moved to a new neighborhood, and on an exploratory walk, I caught a wonderful scent - a thick, dense cloud of frying onions. I looked around for the restaurant producing such a heavenly smell. Instead, I found a small church.


"What's this?" I asked two men outside, with a guess already on my mind.


"This," one replied proudly, "is the best people and the best food in all of Toronto."


A glance at the sign confirmed my hunch: that this was a free dinner offered for anyone and everyone in need by St. John the Compassionate Mission, one of 130 food programs supported by MAZON Canada in 2019, and one I had yet to visit in person.


I was invited inside - not as a funder or professional, but as a community member. I tried to politely decline, but I was told with a wink there was exactly one seat left and that it had been waiting for me.


Inside I found true miracles:


I was seated for dinner next to a man I'd given some change that afternoon. I learned more about his life and his family - how he fell on hard times, and his career before his luck had changed.


Volunteering the kitchen, I found a friend with whom I'd lost touch, who greeted me with a shout and a hug.


When I mentioned that I was Jewish, I found that one of the other homeless guests and I had a friend in common, a Rabbi known for his anti-poverty work.


And I tasted, as advertised, some of the best food I’ve ever had: a hot, sweet bowl of french onion soup.


I had walked into a strange new building in a strange new part of town - and found that through MAZON Canada, I was already part of the community.


It reminded me that the people doing the helping and the people accepting the help are not as far apart as some of us like to think. Across Canada, 4 million people have to choose between food and other critical expenses - often just one stroke of bad luck could mean the difference between a life of comfort and a life of scarcity. These 4 million people are teachers, trades workers, artists, small business owners, and service workers. You talk to them every day. They're grandmothers, uncles, and children. They're up in the Arctic and they're just down the block.


With your support of MAZON Canada, you’re serving 1000 meals a day to help them - any and all of them.The work you do as a MAZON Canada supporter changes lives every day, whether you happen to get invited in for dinner or not.


So I’d like to thank you for that miracle.


I’d like to thank you for being part of this community, whether you live near or far from that particular chuch.


I’d like to thank you for knowing that everyone who goes hungry in this land is part of your community, too, and deserves the same justice and dignity that you and I do.


And of course - I’d like to thank you for the best bowl of french onion soup I’ve ever had.


With sincerest gratitude,


Izzy Waxman

Executive Director, MAZON Canada