Toronto’s Sistering provides inclusive assistance
by Rev. Michelle Meghie
In my capacity in the community, I became familiar with the organization Sistering and their programs and resources for community members at risk. I know the excellent work they have done over the years. As government funding and philanthropic generosity dwindle, it has become increasingly difficult for them to continue providing service and resources to meet the increasing needs of the community they serve. The CSMC Micro-Grant of $1000 supported their Black History Month initiative and impacted lives in a very positive way.
With food security an ongoing issue for community members at risk, Sistering provides daily meals to their clients. However, in honour of Black History Month, these community members were able to have a fabulous treat.
Clients were fed as usual, but with a focus on the cultural aspect to include Caribbean food and entertainment. Imagine forgetting about being hungry, homeless, and how cruel the streets can be if only for a short time. What joy that would bring to the heart! Imagine reconnecting with your homeland again through the food of your culture that you were too poor to afford. Sistering made this dream come to fruition for many.
Established 40 years ago, Sistering is a unique organization which I have always admired. They do fantastic work to create a safe environment that is welcoming, and non-judgmental, as well as provide food security for socially isolated women and trans folks from diverse backgrounds in Toronto who are homeless or precariously housed. This includes people who are experiencing, or have experiences with: substance use, mental health issues; disability; trauma and violence; immigration, refugee, and undocumented status.
Sistering has a brilliant and intentional vision which encompasses a world where all women and trans people, in all our diversity, are safe, respected, valued, seen as equals, and treated with dignity. All people should have equitable opportunities to thrive and participate in inclusive communities.
Thus, Sistering endeavours to address the issues in their work within the guiding principles of feminism, anti-racism and anti-oppression as well as offer practical and emotional support to those who experience social isolation, homelessness or precarious housing, trauma and violence, discrimination, substance use, or need mental health support.
The Black History Month event took place on Feb. 28, 2022. The micro-grant enabled Sistering to host live drumming in the drop-in center where participants were able to dance and sing together. It was vibrant day filled with drumming and poetry performances. This event also provided culturally appropriate meals to folks who attend. The menu included coconut water, patties, curry goat, rice, and much more.
The overarching goal of this event was to help boost the mental health and wellness of Sistering’s participants during these incredibly challenging pandemic times.
Coming together as a community and enjoying a meal together was truly a blessing filled with joy, hope and inspiration. This wonderful event evoked smiles and laughter on the faces of both Sistering’s participants and staff as they danced, ate, and engaged with each other to celebrate Black History Month. Sistering was appreciative of the sponsorship of Clergy Support Memorial Church.