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Sunday community bonfire

Join Friends of Stephenson Park and DECA on Sunday, February 14th from 2-4pm for a community bonfire. There will be treats, friends and fun!

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(If you haven’t been to Stephenson Park before, prepare to be amazed that we have this amazing park right in our neighbourhood. West off Main, a block south of Danforth.)

Thanks to guest blogger, Tina Schertz, Community Economic Development Co-ordinator with Woodgreen, member of DECA’s pop-up shop team and all-around neighbourhood superhero (that last part isn’t part of her official title, but it should be!)

Back in the fall we sent out a survey asking you about the Danforth Gems event, and your local shopping habits. Thank you to the over 200 of you who responded! Janette P. was randomly selected from the responses and was the lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate to Silly Goose (the local business of her choice.) Based on the results, we were able to see some interesting local shopping patterns, which have been shared with the local BIA – who appreciated the input. We also realized we should be sharing the results with you, our neighbours, and supporters of all things local. So without further ado *drumroll please*

Overwhelmingly (and not too surprisingly!) respondents indicated that they shop locally – over 80% of you pop into local establishments at least 3 times a week. This is up since the last time we asked this question back in January 2014, when  62% of you shopped locally at least 3 times per week. The surge of new businesses in the area must have something to do with that increase.  Big nod to all the businesses in the area that provide these offerings right in our ‘hood!

Based on this latest survey, the majority of these local trips are for groceries but you are eating out locally and generally keeping more of your dollars in the neighbourhood:

  • 69% of of you buy groceries locally at least 5 times a month.
  • 78% of you visit a local restaurant at least once a month.
  • 53% of you visit a local coffee shop at least 3 times a month.
  • 74% reported they spend at least $150 per month at local businesses overall.

local shopping spent

We were also interested to know whether DECA’s Danforth Gems competition had an impact on people’s shopping habits, and it seems it did! 67% of respondents agreed with the statement “I now shop in places I hadn’t before [Danforth Gems]” 

Many of you had lots of positive things to say about Danforth Gems, especially the stories and profiles of different business owners we shared with you on DECA Diaries throughout the competition. Check out the word cloud we generated based on all the comments:

Word Cloud 2

Initiatives like Danforth Gems only happen because of amazing volunteers, which is true for all DECA events and initiatives, such as the Pop-Up Shops, East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market and Danforth East Community Arts Fair (and so many others), all of which which contribute to the vibrancy of our neighbourhood.

This survey showed us that a lot of you are supporting the local economy. Thank you!

Help keep the momentum going. Share your love of the neighbourhood with others, whether it’s a great deal on a pantry staple or a local class that gets you moving and shaking – let’s keep spreading the word about how easy it is to find everything we need right here in this neighbourhood!

Skating Party on Sunday

Thanks to the Friends of Monarch Park for organizing this wonderful community event!

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hub

Have you seen our latest pop-up shop, East Toronto Families for Syria Hub? It’s a place where the community can gather and be a part of welcoming families to Danforth East. It also operates as a donation drop off/pick up location for household goods. The Hub is located at 1803 Danforth Avenue above the Tool Library. Their Grand Opening Event is on Saturday January 23, 12-6pm and everyone is welcome!  The Hub will be popping up in the neighbourhood until March 31 and is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12-6pm, or by appointment during the week.

How can you help?

They are accepting donations of household goods and small furniture in good to excellent condition. Please note that due to the large number of items already donated, The Hub is only accepting donations for specific items. Please check their Facebook page to see what items they are looking for.

How can you help even more?

The Hub is a grassroots volunteer effort and is counting on volunteers to help staff the space. Right now they need volunteers through March 31st on Saturdays and Sundays between 12-6pm. Volunteering will likely involve some sorting, organizing and display of donations, and children and babies are welcome and encouraged to come along. Use the links below to get in touch with them if you can spare some of your time to help.

Volunteers at the hub are also creating welcome baskets and organizing activities to connect sponsoring families. Everyone is welcome at the Grand Opening Event on January 23, noon to 6pm. The following Saturday, January 30, they are hosting a Syrian Refugee Sponsor Group Mixer.

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ET4Syria Hub wishes to thank Remax Hallmark Realty for their generosity with this initiative, and is thrilled to be part of DECA/ WoodGreen’s Pop-Up Shop program.

If you want to get in touch with questions, please email info.easttorontofamilies4syria@gmail.com
You can also check them out online at:
Twitter: @eastTO4Syria

As you know, our Sleep Out For Syrians helped raise around $30,000 towards sponsoring a Syrian family to come to Canada. The money all went to The Neighbourhood Group, which decided to increase its goal from 2 to 3 families (or 2 very large families), in part because of our contribution.

We’re so excited to report that Friends of The Neighbourhood Group has surpassed their fundraising goal of $150,000. Amazing, right?

They have let Lifeline Syria know they’re ready to sponsor families, so it’s time to start getting our community ready!

The two — or three – families could be here as early as in the next couple of weeks. Many of you expressed a desire to help out more. Well, here is your chance. They are in need of volunteers in the areas listed below. Are you, or someone you know, able to give time to assist these newcomer families? Take a look at the needs below and get in touch. To find out how you can help please call Lina at 416-691-7407 or email her at ttrifonova@neighbourhoodlink.org

The Friends of The Neighbourhood Group will provide information and support for volunteers.

Volunteer Positions

Interpretation (Arabic/English)

  • Will be required at various times during the day/evening. Flexibility is appreciated
  • Assist with completing documentation, accompanying to assorted service organizations and government departments
  • May also be asked to provide written translation

 

Transportation

  • Drivers with clean vehicles to provide transportation at various times during the day. Evening and weekends may be a requirement
  • Drivers with larger vehicles for multiple passengers are welcome
  • A thorough knowledge of the GTA is helpful

 

Furniture/furnishings

  • Will help with purchasing and assembling basic furniture items such as sofas, beds, and tables
  • Connecting with stores for discounts on items
  • Connect with the Furniture Bank for various household items
  • Purchase phone(s) and pre-program with contact information

 

Shopping for clothing, food and other supplies

  • New items only
  • Connect with clothing stores for donations and discounts on various clothing items
  • Assist with collection of NEW clothing donations

 

Settling children in school and childcare

  • Determining what schools are in the neighbourhood and what services are offered, e.g. English for newcomers
  • Connect with school settlement workers.
  • Assist with finding daycare with eligibility to provide subsidies
  • Connect with schools and create information package about the school e.g. welcome package

Connecting with cultural and religious centres

  • Researching suitable cultural and religious centres
  • Provide information about various religious centers within the immediate area

 

Family Recreation activities

  • Determine the Family’s interests
  • Locate recreation facilities nearby
  • Assist with application for Welcome Policy Toronto – an annual fee subsidy if qualified
  • Connect with local library and obtain library card

 

And more! To find out how you can help please call Lina at Neighbourhood Link Support Services one of The Neighbourhood Group at 416-691-7407 or email her at ttrifonova@neighbourhoodlink.org.

 

Please note: Volunteers may be required to undergo a Police check. Volunteers may be required for daytime, evening and weekend assignments.

You can find more information about the typical needs of a refugee family settling in Canada in the Lifeline Syria handbook. Download a PDF copy of the handbook

— By guest blogger and DECA Connects member Marco Campana. The DECA Connects Working Group works to expand the sense of community by addressing local social issues. We always welcome new members. Please contact edove9@gmail.com for more info.

A couple of things to note for this weekend!

Earl Haig Bottle Drive, Saturday Jan 9th from 9am-1pm, Beer Store (1270 Woodbine, north of Mortimer) 

Earl Haig

It take a village to raise a child, and this Saturday, Earl Haig Public School is asking the East Danforth village for their empty bottles. Please donate your empties to the volunteers  in the parking lot of the Beer Store who will sort and pack your empties, and then process the returns.

All money raised will be used by the School Council to fund programming and purchase equipment to enrich the school experience for students. In the past the School Council has funded things like Scientists in the School, Breadbox Theatre, technology for classrooms, cases for tablets, and equipment for the gym.

 

Ward 32 New Year’s Levee, Sunday Jan 10, 2-4pm, Naval Club (1910 Gerrard St E)

Levee invite

 

Looking ahead to 2016

Happy New Year (almost)!

A note from DECA’s Chair, Sheri Hebdon:

Just a quick note to thank you all for another great year of community-building and fun here in Danforth East. There are so many ways that so many people contributed to make our neighbourhood better this year. Here is a collage of just some of the things we did this year:

deca

Sometimes I see people refer to “DECA” as though we are some kind of powerful entity, for example when people say things like DECA should do something about all the shootings or DECA should be trying to get rid of certain kinds of businesses.  These kinds of comments strike me for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I’m not sure what people think “DECA” is, if not themselves.

DECA is 100% volunteer-run.

DECA is a group of neighbours who are turning ideas into action.

DECA is you!  And if it isn’t you, it should be.

This is the year that we will find a way to get you involved. No matter what your passion, interests, availability, age or abilities are, you have something to contribute and we can find a way to make it happen. Some of our events are annual with totally self-sufficient teams of volunteers, others are one-offs with lots of room for ideas and energy, and others are somewhere in between. We have a Board with 11 members this year, project leads (who are not necessarily Board members) and lots of committed volunteers.

Tweeting and posting on Facebook is not going to change anything by itself.  For those of you still sitting on the couch wondering what the first step is, it is to put down your phones, close your laptops and do something.  It can be as easy as shopping a local store.  Take it to the next level and organize a meet-up or event, come to one of our events, join one of our committees or start something new with us.  If DECA’s approach isn’t your thing, start your own association – we can help you with that!

Thanks so much for all of the wonderful feedback and to all of you who are volunteers or who have been in the past. And thank you to our previous and incoming Board members, who do so much and go above and beyond!

Let 2016 be the year of continued amazing things plus new volunteers, new friends and even more getting to know your neighbours.

On behalf of the DECA Board, Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Sheri 

PS: Tell one neighbour about this blog, sign them up for it, or just invite them to like our Facebook page. Here are our social media links @decadiaires  | Facebook  |  deca.to

Fun facts about DECA

  • our name, Danforth East Community Association, doesn’t have the word “residents” in it, (historically, I believe this is because ‘DERA’ wasn’t as catchy as ‘DECA’) but that is what we are – residents
  • we are often confused with the Business Improvement Association, which are entities across the cities funded by levies paid by business owners and landlords along main streets. BIAs often have similar interests to residents’ associations, but not always. Some business owners/landlords join BIAs for the sole purpose of ensuring that levies are kept to a minimum, while others are primarily interested in bettering their retail strip.  Conversely, DECA’s mandate is all about improving the community, including but not limited to, the main retail strip.
  • we are 100% volunteer-run, grass-roots group with no staff and no office
    • on occasion, we have been accused of being bureaucratic, but as a registered not-for-profit, we are accountable for our money and need certain processes in place
  • we are non-partisan
  • we were formed because we are for something, not opposed
  • we started and run the East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market, the Danforth East Arts Fair, the Festival of Lights, Danforth East Garage Sale, the Pumpkin Parade and the pop-up shop program
    • some of these are run in partnership with others (e.g., Farmers Market Ontario, Woodgreen), but they started as ideas from our volunteers
  • our pop-up shop program has reduced the vacancy rate of our stretch of the Danforth from 17% down to 9%
    • this year alone we had two of our pop-up shops become full-fledged shops: Merrily Merrily and the Handwork Dept
  • our website is now deca.to

 

 

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