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Food forThought for the Homeless – Valentine’s Day 2016

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Last month on Valentine’s Day, a friend and I ventured out into the bitter cold, with a car full of food and gifts for the homeless. Our intention was to pass out a number of backpacks – care packages that we had put together – to whom ever looked like they could use some food and a few extra things. Below is a photo of what was in each backpack.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR THE HOMELESS is not a project with the aim or goal of trying to change the world – not all in one sweep anyways 😉 – but it is rather a platform where I am attempting to connect with my own humanity and essence within, in hopes of learning how to innately respond and act from that space more regularly.

The food/care package came to mind on the morning of Feb. 7th 2016, but its realization was a long time in the making. A string of key moments, discussions, books, meetings and thoughts over the years had preceded this early morning wake-up call.

One such moment was when I was 19 years old, after shopping at the Atwater Market with a close friend. We both had our hands full of groceries, with the intention of heading back to our NDG apartment and cooking up decadent meals for days to come. There was a feeling of abundance and gratitude in the Indian summer air, so tangible and crisp we could breathe it in and taste it.

Some moments later we saw a man sitting on the street, and the thought of one day putting together baskets of food for the homeless ignited a discussion. It seemed so simple. The need was there and the solution was literally in our hands. This inspired thought sprang up from a space of wanting to share our abundance, and not from a space of guilt or lack. There IS a subtle difference there, but a very important one. That day at the market I loved the idea, but I guess we both got distracted with our own lives, and the food baskets were never made. Nonetheless, a seed was planted.

My father was a painter and in his younger days was also an activist. Back in the seventies, when he first met my mother, he had a collection of unusual and eccentric friends, ones with fire and freedom in their bellies. He would sometimes bring zany artists or outsider-types home for a visit or a drink. My mother was a nurse and compassionate by nature, but at the beginning of their marriage – before I was born and only a few years after she had moved to Canada from the Philippines – she barred a few of them from coming up to their apartment and asked my father to stop bringing “crazies” over. ‘Meet them in the lobby if you have to’, she would say. And so he would.

Valentine’s Day ‘Food for Thought for the Homeless’ outing

However, as time passed, my mother saw beyond the first impressions and beneath the unconventional exterior, and warmed up to some of these friends of my father’s. A paradigm shift seemed to have taken place, as she opened up and recognized who they really were.

My mother has always loved to cook for others and so the mealtime gatherings grew in size and were often filled with a jovial celebratory atmosphere, accompanied with lots of stories and laughter and quirky characters. The collection of wacky fringe-like friends my family had accumulated over the years is sizable and continues to grow to this day.

All this to say, my upbringing and exposure to colorful artists of all kinds (quirky ones, earnest ones, struggling ones) probably has something to do with my growing interest in the fringe characters of society and my developing soft spot for the underdog.

Valentine’s Day ‘Food for Thought for the Homeless’ outing

One of my interests and visions is to infuse my life and the lives of others with beauty and humanity, through my art and through projects like FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR THE HOMELESS.

We are all deserving of some basic things, like food and kindness. However, the act of extending one’s arm out to help a brother or a sister requires a journey from the head to the heart. It’s really an inside job. It sometimes can be a long trek, but I think it’s worth every little step.

The next FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR THE HOMELESS package distribution will be taking place on March 17th. If you would like to contribute or would like to know more about this initiative contact me at Thanks to those who have already participated. It’s truly warming to the heart to see so many people getting on board and joining in with this project with such enthusiasm.

Donations & Contributions Preparing the Food Categorizing the Items Snacks and Desserts

Preparing the backpack care packages Sketch book with a quote to inspire on the 1st page

This month, I’m aiming to fill 15-20 backpacks. If this project resonates with you and you would like to partake in it, please take a peek at the wish list below. And by all means, if you feel inclined to give directly on your own to someone who is homeless and who personally resonates with you, consider the wish list, follow your heart and extend a hand.

To paraphrase one man who was living on the street… ‘Basics are wonderful. And ‘luxuries’, like homemade banana bread or muffins or a cup of hot chocolate, are simply transcendent. Just a small act of kindness can bring a few moments of comfort. Sometimes it’s just in the little things…’

Some Little Things

  • Wool socks

  • Tim Horton’s rechargeable gift card with $10 on it

  • Pharmacy gift card

  • Dollarstore gift card

  • New underwear

  • Packets of Kleenex

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, toothbrush protector, dental floss

  • Baby wipes

  • A sketch book and a pen for writing or drawing (a pencils, an eraser, a pencil sharpener)


  • Sandwiches

  • Soup

  • Salad

  • Anything homemade (ex. comfort food, zucchini bread, etc.)

  • Snack food, bag of peanuts or energy bars

  • and dessert, of course!!!


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