As houses buy and sell in the west end, there is no denying the impact this has on the local communities. As older home owners sell and make way for new, younger home owners, the face of the neighbourhood will also start to change. Roncesvalles Village is the perfect example of such change. Once known as “Little Poland” Roncy was chock-a-block with Polish butchers, bakers and shop keepers. These days, there is quite a bit more diversity along the strip, and this is in part due to the changing community around it. It’s true that Roncy has had its fair share of setbacks over the years, who can forget the replacement of the streetcar tracks, a time which many businesses struggled to stay afloat due to almost non-existent foot traffic in a once thriving area. Covid also took its toll, as it did city-wide. Evidently Roncy bounced back, and we’re so grateful for it.
As we take from these communities, it is very important to also give back.
Shopping local is an easy and fun way to give back, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone who lives within the community. There are many charitable organizations in the west end that ensure that even our most vulnerable residents are able to remain in the neighbourhoods they have called home since long before we started our business. We feel that we have a social responsibility to take care of our beloved neighbourhoods and the residents that have worked so hard to make them the amazing places they are today.
As you move in to a new community, consider how you can help mitigate your impact and how you can give back, ensuring our west end neighbourhoods remain viable, inclusive and a place for future generations to thrive. If you are looking for how you can give back, here are a few organizations supporting a worthy cause in the west end.
It’s no secret that we love the west end! Learn more about our favourite Toronto neighbourhoods with these posts next:
- Everything You Need to Know About Living in Toronto’s West End
- Our Favourite Trendy Coffee Shops in Roncy and Parkdale
- Bloor West Village: A Gourmet Grocery Hotspot
Roncesvalles United Church- Dinner With Dignity
Founded in 1889, the Roncy United Church is a well-known landmark on the Roncy strip. Perhaps you’ve seen their rainbow steps out front? Roncy United has been and continues to be a very important resource in our community both spiritually and physically. The Dinner With Dignity program serves a free buffet lunch every Sunday from 1-3. This program is open to all and provides a warm, nutritious meal, social interaction and a safe space for those who need it. Roncy united is always looking for volunteers and donors.
For more information on the Dinner With Dignity program visit them online or stop by in person to see how you can get involved in their many programs. The Roncesvalles United Church is located at 240 Roncesvalles Avenue, M6R 1M3
Parkdale Community Food Bank
In operation since 2007, the Parkdale Community Food Bank mission is to ensure access to barrier free food, with choice, dignity and respect for all. No questions asked, providing food to anyone who seeks assistance from their program. PCFB believes that access to high quality, healthy food is a human right. And we agree. The Parkdale Community Food Bank will help you organize a food drive at your place of work, or wherever. They also help organize fund raisers and accept monetary donations as well. Like all of these charitable organizations, the Parkdale Community Food Bank is always looking for volunteers.
Located at 1499 Queen St. West, Parkdale Community Food Bank is open for food service and drop-ins Wednesday through Saturday. Check out their website for specific hours and to find out how you can take part.
Community Fridges TO
Perhaps you’ve seen these colourful fridges around the city. The Toronto Community Fridge program is a mutual aid initiative run by volunteers from all over the city. Community fridges are available 24/7 and are stocked by volunteers. The fridges are full of fresh produce, dairy, bread, juice, sauces and even prepared meals. Many of these fridges also have a freezer and some are adjacent to a pantry as well. These are free and accessible to anyone who needs them.
This is an excellent program to get the kids involved from shopping to dropping off. There are two fridges available to fill or access in Parkdale and Roncy. In Parkdale, find a fridge at 124 Brock Avenue in the parking lot of Stay Gold Toronto, across from McCormick Arena. In Roncy, the fridge is located at Roncesvalles United Church at 240 Roncesvalles Avenue.
If you would like to donate to a community fridge in your area, please check the guidelines on their website and shop accordingly: https://communityfridgesto.org/
Parkdale Golden Age Foundation
The Parkdale Golden Age Foundation was established in 1974 with the purpose of improving the quality of life for seniors and those living with disabilities in our communities. With a focus on helping those living alone manage their day to day lives as barrier-free as possible. These programs are available to Seniors over the age of sixty, and to those living with disabilities. Services offered by the Golden Age Foundation include home visits, light cleaning, doing laundry, banking and even grocery shopping. Charities like these are so integral to our community as they help even our most vulnerable members continue to participate in a community they certainly helped to build. Like all the charities on our list, the Golden Age Foundation is always looking for volunteers.
For more information on h9w to get involved or what you can do to help, please check out their website at Or visit at their offices at 27 Roncesvalles Ave, #401 at the corner of Roncy and Grafton, closer to Queen St.
Looking for more west end Toronto resources? Read these blogs next:
- 5 Junction and BWV Coffee Shops for a Unique Experience
- Staying Fit in the West End this Winter
- Our Favourite Boutiques in Roncy
Rainbow Songs Foundation – Roncesvalles
Rainbow Songs is an early childhood education program intended to introduce babies and toddlers to music, sign language and helps to support growth and cognitive development. The Foundation brings that same learning, joy and laughter to families living in the shelter system. The programs run on a weekly basis in alignment with the school calendar resulting in reliable, consistent and effective programming for at risk children who need it most. The Rainbow Songs Foundation accepts monetary donations online through their website
The Rainbow Songs Foundation is located at 277 Roncesvalles Ave at the corner of Westminster and Roncy
High Park Nature Centres
A major perk of living and working in the west end is the ability to enjoy High Park all year round. High Park is Toronto’s second largest green space, with 400 acres of park to explore and enjoy. A beautiful park like this doesn’t just take care of itself, High Park is maintained by an army of volunteers, keeping the park beautiful, relevant and top of mind for the community. “The High Park Nature Centre is a charitable organization that was established in 1999. Our mission is to promote awareness and respect for nature through year-round, hands-on outdoor nature education and park stewardship. Nature Centre programs inspire a sense of wonder, knowledge and respect for High Park’s natural systems; restore human connections to local plants and animals; and engage visitors in ecological restoration activities to ensure a sustainable future for High Park for generations to come.”
To get involved in the conservation of this beautiful park, there is a 3 month commitment and a considerable vetting process. They also accept monetary donations. Find out more about volunteering at
The Red Door Shelter
Though not in the west end, the Red Door Shelter has been providing emergency shelter and support for women and children since 1982. Since then, The Red Door Shelter has grown into one of the largest shelter systems in the city, providing shelter and services to over 350 families a year. Offering 24-hour emergency shelter, medical assistance and child care, the Red Door Shelter is essential to the Toronto community in helping those who use its services establish a stable and safe life beyond the shelter. A service like this cannot function without a community to support it. The Red Door Shelter accepts monetary donations through their secure website, as well as volunteers for various positions. For more information on how to get involved and to fill out a volunteer application form, please visit their website at
There are so many worthy organizations in the city of Toronto and the west end in particular, we ran out of space on this blog! If you are interested in getting involved in charity work, check out the ones we’ve listed above and see how you can help. Please also consider the Bloor West Food Bank, Ukrainian Canadian Social Services and St. Joseph’s Hospital. See you out there!
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