In the fight against hunger in Mississauga, we have the opportunity to meet many incredible, compassionate individuals. So this #GivingTuesdayCA, we want to celebrate giving by introducing you to Rashna Chotai – one of the most generous women we’ve met.
Rashna has been bringing the Meadowvale Village Community together for 13 years to fight hunger and feed hope together. She started the Meadowvale Village Community Food Drive in 2004 because she felt no one should have to go hungry during the holidays. Rashna hated the idea of people in Mississauga going hungry, so she decided to do something about it.
In the first year of the drive, Rashna and her friends started going door to door to about 500 houses – asking their neighbours to donate any items to the food bank. Anything they received was brought back to Rashna’s garage before it could get dropped off at the food bank.
Now, the drive has grown into a Meadowvale Village-wide event collecting food from over 1,600 homes three times a year – at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! Rashna and her volunteers still go door-to-door, but now, they split into teams and collect food over two days! Flyers are handed out in advance to remind neighbours to have their donations ready to be picked up. All of the food still gets collected in Rashna’s garage until the Food Bank picks it up.
We asked Rashna to reflect on why this event is so important to her and she shared,
“Students will start volunteering in elementary school and some continue to participate even when they are attending university. It makes me happy to see their leadership and social skills develop as they volunteer. I also feel strongly it’s important to help the people in our community who are struggling with hunger.”
This year will be Rashna’s 40th food drive – and to make it extra special she’s going to donate $2 to the Food Bank for every jar of peanut butter collected by the drive. Peanut butter is one of the food bank’s Most Needed Items and a great source of protein that always flies off the shelves. So, Rashna wanted to provide her neighbours with extra incentive to donate it this holiday season.
Thank you Rashna, for inspiring us and reminding us that a little can go a long way when it comes to helping your neighbours. We’re so thankful for generous individuals like you who are champions for our city’s most vulnerable.
PS. If you’re reading this and feel inspired to make a gift of your own to the Holiday Drive, click here!