meals provided annually
community member visits per day
The Drop-in and
Food Access Program
Working in close collaboration with CONC’s Shelter and Housing Programs, The Drop-In & Food Access Program provides targeted supports that assist program participants and shelter residents to take steps toward better health, security and sustainability. The Drop-In operates 6 days a week and is open to everyone. We provide support particularly to individuals who are homeless, under-housed, or precariously housed and at risk of becoming homeless. Drop-In participants are often living on low-to-no income, are on ODSP or OW, are unemployed or underemployed, and face barriers to engagement in community life.
Our program participants are challenged by significant barriers to stability and autonomy, including recent immigration, physical & mental health issues, substance abuse, isolation, trauma, and involvement in the justice system. Many Drop-In participants are seeking to develop the skills and supports they need to take steps out of poverty, including literacy, financial literacy, healthy coping strategies and positive relationships with peers and family. Drop-In participants have often experienced loss, abuse, neglect and mistreatment. They stand to benefit from the practical, tangible components of the program while being treated with respect, dignity and valued as a unique person as well as a valuable part of our diverse communities.
The Drop-In provides free access to healthy meals and snacks daily, prepared by volunteers and served with dignity. The Drop-In provides access to phone, fax and internet, showers and laundry facilities, volunteer opportunities, informative and skill-based workshops, and personal support for community members.
The Drop-In comprehensively addresses multiple aspects of poverty by providing support for housing and employment seekers. Program staff assist participants with tasks like resume writing, and completing social assistance applications or government forms. There are also activities for community health and wellness, such as fitness classes and health education workshops.
The Breaking Barriers Program
The Drop-In is also an effective access point to enhanced, targeted individual engagement with Life Management, Health & Wellness, Employment and Housing staff teams. These four teams work collaboratively to support participants in building more stable lives. For needs that go beyond program activities, and to contribute to building a supportive, expansive network for each community member, program staff teams draw on relevant connections and partnerships to provide tailored resources and referrals.
Clinics & Recreation Programs
The Drop-In regularly offers recreation programs ranging from Zumba (Latin-inspired cardio-dance workout) and Yoga, Conversation Circles, Neighbourhood Walking Groups and self-defense, to art therapy and cooking classes. We also go on outings to the Toronto Islands and other fun local destinations. Other structured Drop-In activities include Blood Pressure Clinics, TB Testing, Flu Shots, Dental and Hearing tests, Vision Care, Heart Health and Sexual Health information sessions with the support of Toronto Public Health.
Recent reports from the Ontario Association of Food Banks state that low income adult and senior individuals are most in need of programs that reduce food insecurity. That evidence supports the increase we’ve seen in participants visiting the program primarily for food on a regular basis. Our sole-support parents food bank (currently under construction), that runs in tandem with the Drop-In, supports over 200 community members each month. Individuals who are leaving a shelter for more stable housing also gain access to the food bank for 9 months to a year, to support this important transition.
Events & Activities
Our Drop-in hosts a number of events throughout the year to foster community engagement and inclusiveness. We strive to provide a place of celebration and organize unique experiences that encourage new friendships and a place of belonging during the times of the year where our participants may feel an increased sense of social isolation. Through these activities we are able to strengthen bonds within our social groups, such as our seniors group and men’s and women’s sharing circles.
We host daily community engagement activities, such as trips to Toronto landmarks like Centre Island and daily walking club, in addition to providing community meals during holidays, like our Canada Day BBQ, Thanksgiving meal or year-end holiday banquets. Volunteers and in-kind and monetary donations are the driving force that allow CONC to provide this kind of programming to our community. We are deeply grateful for the outside support we have received over the years and the lasting bonds we have been able to make because of this work.
On Tuesday mornings, our Drop-In gets creative! Participants are offered the chance to express their artistic side from 10am to 11:30am through art therapy. The group is run by our talented placement students where each week presents a new opportunity for community members to create art based on a common theme or a personal idea.
The art is displayed in various ways around our agency, or participants are invited to take their work home. The works have also become an integral part of community celebrations that the Drop-in organizes throughout the year; celebrations such as our Canada Day BBQ, where the participants’ art work was proudly and prominently displayed for the enjoyment of the larger surrounding community.
The Drop-In & Food Access program is operated out of our newly opened shelter building on 850/854 Bloor Street W.
- The Salvation Army
- Second Harvest
- Daily Bread Food Bank
- Unison Health Community Centre
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- Hakim Optical
- Toronto Public Health
- Toronto Meditation Centre
- DAT Hair Salon
- West Toronto Legal Services
- 211 Community Services
- Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)
- Toronto Employment and Social Services
- Eden Trattoria Restaurant
- Houselink Community Homes
- Oasis Dufferin Community Centre
- Sistering Drop-In Centre
- Skills for Change, Ontario Employment Services
- WEST Neighbourhood House
- Working Women Community Centre
- Abrigo Centre
- Adam House
- Christie Refugee Welcome Centre
- Church of St Stephen-in-the-Fields
- 14 Division, Toronto Police Department
- George Brown College
- Centennial College
- CDI College
- Medix College
- Ryerson University
- York University
- Bickford Adult Learning Centre
- Marcca College