“We developed this program from scratch. On the first day we had 16 clients, now we have 70.”
The history of Warden Woods’ programs at Teesdale goes back even further, to 1977, when Teesdale residents demanded more recreational and cultural programs, particularly for children and youth. Warden Woods Church and Community Centre offered to supply an on-site community worker at that time. They established the “Teesdale Community Centre” at 40 Teesdale, which initially consisted of an office/lounge, a meeting room, and a recreation area. The Centre was funded in the first year by two church groups and operated by community worker Don Hildebrand. Over the years, the Centre offered a “Teen Rec Room” at 30 Teesdale, a small library, a quarterly newsletter and many different drop-in programs. It was guided by a tenant advisory board.
Today a typical week of food programming at Teesdale is jam-packed. On Mondays the food truck from 2nd Harvest arrives and the staff unload it with the help of community volunteers. On Tuesdays, staff catch up on program operations. On Wednesdays Flavienne Martin and a number of volunteer cooks make a hot lunch, which is served by volunteers, and Michael Nyakundi runs the fresh produce market at the Warden Woods Firvalley site. On Thursdays the bagged lunch program operates. On Fridays a fresh food market is offered at the Teesdale site. All the while, staff provide clients with access to a computer and phone, information about housing, jobs and, self-care, workshops, clinics and personal support.