COMFORT FOOD | Newsletter
Jill van Tol
Jill van Tol loved to shop. Jill would search for great deals and she would donate her treasured “finds” to those without. This mom of three, grandma of seven and great grandma of seven had a passion for supporting people in her community and she found a simple pleasure in shopping and donating to others.
If someone needs help, you help.
You don’t stop to think about it.
Jill moved to Canada from England and taught in various schools in the Rocky Mountain House area and a one-room schoolhouse in Southern Alberta. When not teaching, she was hard at work on the family farm and supporting the community in any way she could. The core belief of everyone chipping in and helping their neighbours and friends became the foundation for her giving spirit. She brought this philosophy when she moved to Calgary in 2003 when she immediately set out to find ways to give-back and support her new community.
The Calgary Food Bank was one of the organizations she loved to help. Marrying her “love of a good deal” with serving others, Jill would quietly and consistently donate case-lots of food and personal items like socks. Jill’s daughter Linda Anderson remembers her mom with great affection and says that her love of giving back was rooted in her upbringing and living in a farming community where you do what you can to help one another out. She said, “If someone needs help, you help. You don’t stop to think about it.” In addition to her love of “scooping up a great deal” Jill also had a gift for connecting community. In her time volunteering with the Food Bank she facilitated a partnership with her church to create a food support program for fellow parishioners.
We are grateful that Jill van Tol’s beautiful legacy of supporting community lives on through her planned gift.
Calgary Food Bank CEO James McAra knew Jill well. “She was a gem, quiet about her accomplishments but not shy in helping others or even asking what needed to be done. She always had an update on what was happening in and around her community. She was pragmatic yet never lacked empathy. I remember when she would stop by for coffee and share her thoughts about the community and what was working and how we all could improve. Sometimes Jill would phone to check in, and she was always thoughtful of others, and always with expectations of how each of us could work harder or better to the benefit of others.”
Jill van Tol passed in December of 2020 after a decline in her health mostly brought-on by Alzheimers and the isolation that resulted from COVID-19. While her smiling face and donations of groceries and supplies are deeply missed, Jill made a very important decision about how her support would continue. When she prepared her Will, she had a planned gift in place for the Food Bank. Jill admired the work being done and seeing first-hand the impact that was made. Her foresight and generosity through her bequest has ensured there is continued support for the community’s most vulnerable.
James said, “When we learned of Jill’s passing, it stopped a lot of us here at the Food Bank. A flood of great memories about Jill and what she had accomplished in her part of the world washed over all of us. We have lost a very kind and generous soul.” We are grateful that Jill van Tol’s beautiful legacy of supporting community lives on through her planned gift.
What’s new at the Food Bank
We are growing to better serve Calgarians!
We are growing to better serve Calgarians who need food support, and those who help us with that work.
Feeding people is our priority and we have been evaluating how we can better serve clients and the community. We have been limited in capacity for all our processes and have known for some time that to continue to meet the historically high and ever-growing demand we would have to expand.
Therefore, we recently acquired additional space at 5020 12A Street SE and have relocated some of our staff. This frees up capacity for food storage; makes space for accepting and sorting food donations; and considering demand for emergency food support is 93% high year over year, optimizes hamper building and distribution. Most notably there will be a Fresh Produce area that will allow us to accept, process and distribute a greater volume of fresh items for clients and agencies.
Our main location at 5000 11 Street SE remains the hub for clients, Food Link partners, volunteers, and food donors. Renovations have begun in our current facility but like a hospital during renovations, we will not compromise our services. Clients will continue to receive seven to 10 days’ worth of nutritious food for every member of their family.
We will continue to welcome donations of food at the same place: Loading Dock, Door 3, 5000 11 Street SE. Donations of funds can also be accepted at the Annex, our new location: 5020 12A Street SE. Simply ring the doorbell at either building and we will come greet you.
Andy and Chidera
It’s Chidera’s first day volunteering at the food bank and Andy, who has been here for 2 years is showing her the ropes!
Partners In Action
Inn from the Cold
Many agencies in and around Calgary connect with their clients through food, providing them with meals and snacks as they help them out of crisis and towards self-sufficiency. To help with their efforts, our Food Link Program provides qualified organizations with the food and supplies so they can focus their time and resources on important program delivery instead of worrying about sourcing food. One of the agencies that access the Food Link Program is Inn from the Cold. They are dedicated to supporting families in the Calgary region that are, or may become homeless, by offering shelter, housing, and coordinated supports.
They are an invaluable partner in helping us feed and support children and their families experiencing homelessness in our shelter program.
Each month we send approximately 2,700 pounds of food to Inn from the Cold. This results in great cost-savings and allows them to focus on what they do best: supporting families that are or may become homeless.
“We would like to sincerely thank the Calgary Food Bank,” says José Guillén, Director, External Relations at Inn from the Cold. “They are an invaluable partner in helping us feed and support children and their families experiencing homelessness in our shelter program.”
CITY-WIDE FOOD DRIVE | SEPTEmBER 18
Volunteers will deliver food drive bags to neighbourhoods across Calgary between September 13 – 17, 2021 and will collect donations on Saturday, September 18.
What’s on our wish list? Canned tomatoes and non-perishable Gluten-free food items (pasta, crackers, soups, cereal etc).
You might also like
We were built on a foundation of faith, not as an expression of religion but on the sense of community. Even more true today, when the collective desire to help others continues as the need for food support touches more lives.
Mikala Wilson is a Primary Care Dietitian with Mosaic Primary Care Network (PCN) and a former volunteer with the Calgary Food Bank. In the spring of 2020, she volunteered in the food distribution area; a few months later, she was asked to help with Food Hamper Nutrition Analysis. THAT was a changing moment for her and for us.
Today is Grocery Hero Day! We are extremely proud and incredibly grateful of the connection with our more than 100 grocery store partners, including Sobeys, Safeway, Save On Foods, Calgary Co-op, Superstore, No Frills, Costco and Walmart. It is a great honour to work with so many dedicated employees that understand the importance of giving back.