Taki has been giving back to his community since high school, almost 20 years ago
With the holiday season upon us, that can only mean one thing: time to gobble turkey and feast on Halloween candy in good company. But for some, the feasts are few and far between, and local food bank volunteers, like Richmond Hill’s Yasir Taki, continue to help curb hunger in their community. After moving to Canada from Iraq, Taki found friendship and a sense of belonging at the United Muslim Women of Canada’s (UMWC) Food Bank in Richmond Hill, which sparked a lifelong commitment to packaging and delivering food items to families in need across the GTA.
Now, almost 20 years later, Taki remains an avid volunteer but says that the food bank is in dire need of help.
“We need a lot of help from young volunteers, we have a lot from older generations, but that doesn’t help us to move forward. We need to move forward,” Taki says. Because the UMWC Food Bank relies on donations, they can only afford to keep their doors open once a month where food items and necessities are delivered straight to the home of the family.
“Sometimes I work with a family for one month, other times it’s three months,” Taki says. “Every family is different.”
After a family’s need has been approved by the food bank, volunteers shop at a grocery store, package the items and then deliver them to the family’s front door. Getting up close and personal with a family in need in the GTA is surprising and difficult, says Taki.
“In our Iraq community, we don’t have something like this, so I like to help out as much as I can,” he says. “I delivered to a family for quite some time, and once they told me they needed a specific type of food, which the food bank didn’t have,” Taki recalls. He says the food bank needs more resources to cater to a family’s specific needs.
Over the years, Taki has seen many friends and fellow volunteers leave the food bank, whether work took over or they just lost interest, somehow life got in the way. But Taki has always managed, despite juggling his full-time day job.
“There is no better feeling in the world than to see the smile on the faces of people I deliver food to,” Taki says. “I believe it’s the one thing everyone can do to make a difference in the world.”
To get involved or get help from the UMWC Food Bank, visit 155 East Beaver Creek Rd. in Richmond Hill, or call 416-704-4999.