Tara Myshrall

Tara Myshrall

Compelling Change One Food Basket At a Time

Many of us take the food we fill our bellies with for granted.  We often find ourselves assuming that everyone has access to proper nutrition in Canada, yet that simply is not the case. In 2017-18, 1 in 8 households in Canada was food insecure, amounting to 4.4 million people, including more than 1.2 million children living in food-insecure households. (https://proof.utoronto.ca/food-insecurity/)

Often I go back to my childhood and I remember the struggle my parents had when they first started out. A young family, my father worked in a gas station to try and support us.  There were times where I was amazed at what my mother could do with a bag of potatoes. Potato soup with water, butter, onion and potatoes, Roti and potatoes, rice and potato curry.  These meals filled us up when times were tough.  My father has done amazing work growing his business and I always remember our humble beginnings and that anything is possible with persistence and the right support.

I was compelled to help make a difference.  I choose to participate in the Canadian Basket Brigade.  They are a local charity that has been delivering to families in need since 1993 and has grown with many branches throughout Canada. The Basket Brigade collects funds through donations, corporate sponsorship and grants.  The money is used to then purchase food, pack it and deliver to families.  

Each Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter we deliver enough food to feed a family for a week. I bring my son with me to take part in the packing and deliveries, as I think it is important to contribute and give back to our community and I want him to have those same values.  

I will never forget about 5 years ago my son and I were on delivery to a single mom and her two sons.  We drove up to the apartment and a tall slender boy around 14 opened the door for us to deliver the food.  As we got to the apartment we came inside and I asked him if I could put the perishables in the fridge while he waited for his mom to come from work. As I opened his fridge, all that lay inside was a ketchup bottle and some condiments on the door and some tang juice.  I packed the fridge and as my son and I were leaving the boys were so grateful they asked us if we would stay for dinner. I still remember the smile that spread across their faces when we told them it was all for them.

We finished our deliveries and I received a phone call. It was the mother and she said she was just calling to say how happy she was.  She started crying and saying “God is Good. I didn’t know how I was going to feed my children this thanksgiving.  I am so happy to be here in Canada I am so blessed we made it out.’’ She explained that she had recently lost her husband and was struggling to get by.  I always remember that call. 

What I love most is that the basket brigade works with local organizations, many of our names of recipients come from “Roots community services” focusing on delivering to black and Caribbean families, “MFRC- Military Family resource centres”, battered women’s shelters, local churches and other organizations.

Delivering food not only contributes to the families but it also helps me to practice radical generosity when we deliver.  The key is to drop the food and leave them with love and light as you never know the circumstances behind the need. 

If you are compelled to change the world, remember small actions of caring have a massive impact.  How will you help spread change?

The Basket Brigade is looking for support for our Christmas food drive. Please reach out if you are interested in volunteering or donating. Your small actions can have a huge impact on the lives of those around you. To learn more, visit their website:

https://basketbrigadecanada.org/

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