It happens for our organization every year in April. One select date, multiple partnering restaurant locations throughout York Region, and the ask for donations to go toward some of our programming… offering support and services to folks living with and affected by HIV or AIDS.

What does not happen every year, in fact something that nobody saw coming, was this global pandemic. Creating challenges everywhere you turned and affecting so many folks in so many different ways.

Our event, A Taste for Life, scheduled for April, participating restaurants lined up, flyers shared, plans made. An event where folks dine in, restaurants donate proceeds of lunch or dinner sales and then individuals have the option of still donating on their own.

It has been a pretty successful event for us. Dollars raised go toward our Compassion Fund for our service users; a fund that helps provide support to things like drive to care, medical bills and other basic needs.

One of those ‘created challenges’ from COVID was that this important fundraising event was sadly cancelled.

We tried to do something online of course, and we managed to make it through, but the struggle was definitely there, it was felt, and much was lost.

So here we are a year later, the struggle continues, but we’ve had more time to consider and think out the possibilities. We are moving forward, we need to, but it is going to happen in a different way.

The need for care and support is so much more vital than ever before. Folks who seek support and services through CAYR already face some serious barriers – physical and mental health, poverty, etc…. now COVID and this pandemic.

So this year, A Taste for Life will be celebrated on not just one day, but over the entire month of April 2021, from day 1 to day 30. And instead of partnering with restaurants to donate portions of proceeds, as an organization that has received support from them over the years, we are going to try our best to give some of the love back by showcasing and supporting them; encouraging folks to place orders and do take out. Check it out, they are all listed here: A Taste for Life York Region

In turn we ask that all of you reading this, after ordering to get, you donate to CAYR to give. It is just that simple to make a difference.

Help us to provide that much needed supported to some of York Region’s most vulnerable.

Get some great food and then give to a great cause!\

By Mark Koning

Mark is the Manager of Communications & Operations with CAYR COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS. Mark is also an Author and Blogger of Challenging Barriers and The BIST Blog. (Brain Injury Society of Toronto)