During Black History Month, we are sharing the stories of Black leaders in our community and Black-led organizations that we at The Mississauga Food Bank are proud to work with.
Meet Tinuola Babafemi, Chief Executive Officer of House of Praise and Prayer (HOPAP)! 👋
HOPAP is a non-profit organization and Pentecostal Ministry that serves our diverse community through its food pantry and kitchen.
The idea of creating a food pantry and kitchen to help the community came to Tinuola ten years ago when she found herself having to make the difficult choice between paying rent or buying groceries and sacrificing food for herself to have enough for her children. She remembers the struggles she faced, “I begged the bus drivers for free rides and had no means of cooking the collected groceries from food banks because I was homeless. As an immigrant single mother of two teenagers, I had to eat what I was given and not what I grew up eating in my culture or what I wanted to eat.”
After her experience with food insecurity, Tinuola was determined to make sure no one had to go through such a phase in their lives. Now, as CEO, armed with years of culinary experience and firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to turn to a food bank as a lifeline, she is leading HOPAP’s food pantry and kitchen to become a pillar in the community.
“It is essential for our community to work with and support Black leaders and Black-led organizations like HOPAP because it will amplify our strength and give us the power to grow on our terms and in our own way. It empowers the organization to serve and meet the specific needs of the Black community, ensure our organization’s longevity and presence in the community and help strengthen the Black-Canadian dream. “
Through HOPAP’s food pantry, Tinuola and her team not only provide food but other types of support to help their community make ends meet. “We assist with other important needs because we are aware that people are in desperate need of things aside from food. Some of our clients would have a specialist appointment and no money to get there so we assist with cash for transportation fare. Many children miss out on school activities because their parents can’t afford to purchase costumes, items, and tickets needed so we would step in and help. That is why gift cards are a very important item that we give out to our clients.”
Tinuola, thank you for everything you do for your community! 💚🧡
Visit House of Praise and Prayer to learn more about their work in the community.