Sharing a Meal Over Holidays

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 9:54 a.m. December 24, 2020

Toronto Police West Hill Neighbourhood Community Officers teamed up with Humaniti to provide a hot lunch to Danzig Community residents and Christmas toys to young children on December 23.

Police officers and a man and boy with brown bags
Consts. Bradley Gervais and Eric Rowlands with Lamar Bartley and his son Dominic

Officers from 43 Division donated the gifts.

“We had a surplus from our annual Toy Drive organized by our Auxiliary members,” said S/Sgt. Nicholas Nei. “The community was extremely generous this year and they should be commended for that. This is a tough time for many people and we wanted to cheer them up at this time of year, particularly the children.”

Humaniti, a grassroots Canadian relief and development organization with global impact, organized the meals.

“We have a project call ‘Share A Meal’ and, for the holiday season, we have encouraged restaurants and donors across the city to share a meal for the holidays,” said Humaniti’s Executive Director Firaaz Azzez who was the Special Projects Manager with the Muslim Welfare Centre for seven years. “We are thrilled today to be able to work with Affys Premium Grill in Pickering.”

The executive chef prepared grilled chicken with rice and potatoes.

Chantal Hennigar took her two children, ages eight and six, to the event.

“One of the Neighbourhood officers gave them a flyer advertising it, so they were very enthused,” she said. “I have lived in this community for three years and the police are very engaged. It’s good to have them here at this time of year celebrating the season with us in a meaningful way.”

Seven-year-old Dominic Bartley was excited to attend the event.

“I feel joy,” he said. “I am so happy.”

A group of police officers and people holding brown bags
At left, Firaaz Azzez and Supt. Dave Rydzik with fellow 43 Division officers, Monica Gittens and kids from the community..

The boy and his father, Lamar Bartley, have resided in the community for four years.

“This is a good thing for the community, especially with what is going on right now in the world,” he said. “In fact, this is one of the best things that the police have done here in my time.”

Mother and daughter Lynette and Monica Gittens have lived in the community for nearly 20 years. 

They helped to co-ordinate the event.

“The children are very happy to receive the gifts and they are already asking if we are going to do it again,” said Monica Gittens. “This is such a nice way to bring the community together and have them interact with police.”

Const. Rich Bronilla is one of the neighbourhood officers who spend quality time in the Danzig community.

“This is a good community with a lot of people doing great stuff,” he said. “They are welcoming to us and they run positive programs for young people. We are very happy to be part of this event today.”

Supt. Dave Rydzik, the 43 Division Unit Commander, was on hand to interact with the community and wish them happy holidays.

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