Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Cailey Heaps (left) is donating $60,000 to Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), as part of its 20 For 20 program. CFCC was founded by Nick Saul (right) and it provides a variety of food and health programs across Canada.Handout

The organizer: Cailey Heaps

The pitch: Donating $60,000

The cause: Community Food Centres Canada

Toronto businesswoman Cailey Heaps never thought much about food security until she heard a speech by Nick Saul, a long-time advocate for community food programs.

Mr. Saul worked at a Toronto food bank for years in the late 1990s but he found it too impersonal and ineffective. He set about creating a new vision to help families who can’t afford healthy food. That led to the creation of Community Food Centres Canada, CFCC, a national network of 400 partners that offers a range of programs including community kitchens, gardens, nourishing meals and fresh food markets.

“I was very impressed by the mandate of CFCC,” recalled Ms. Heaps who runs a real estate company. Mr. Saul “is someone who I find very inspirational. He thinks about things in a very holistic way.”

Ms. Heaps had contributed to food banks and community kitchens before, but she found Mr. Saul’s approach and CFCC far more comprehensive. “I’d never seen it all come together where it’s food, education, community and really wanting people to maintain their self-respect and dignity as they feed their families.”

Last year Mr. Saul launched a fundraising drive called 20 For 20 and he asked 20 donors to contribute $20,000 a year for three years. The money will help fund the charity’s operations as well as a new $23-million community hub in downtown Toronto.

Ms. Heaps was among the first to sign up and about 10 more donors have stepped forward. Mr. Saul is grateful for the support especially now that so many Canadians are struggling with the rising cost of living. “I’ve worked in food security for a long time, I haven’t seen the crisis as severe as it is right now,” he said.

Before Ms. Heaps agreed to the donation, Mr. Saul gave her and her three children a tour of the Toronto hub which is under construction. “Nick talked to my kids in a very real way about what he’s trying to accomplish in that location,” she said. After the tour she and her children returned to their car to talk about the donation. “I shut the door and within three seconds my kids say ‘Okay, we’re in.’”

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe