Our Heroes - Ray's Food & Liquor
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Raven is the founder and executive director of Essential Aid Infant Food Bank located in downtown Hamilton. Raven and her team work year round to provide essentials including formula, diapers, food etc to babies and children under the age of 12. Through Covid, Raven has continued to find ways that allow for social distancing but will ensure that the community gets what it needs. Raven and her team have allowed for community members to continue to access services, and become flexible with hours and broken down barriers to accommodate the need in our community. Raven has also found creative ways to take the organizations fundraising online, including raffles, auctions, baking and more. Raven is the kind of person who looks for a need in the community and works diligently to fill that need so that no child will go without. She does this all while raising her two beautiful daughters, and working full time running a business with her husband.


Stephanie C., House Manager, of Central West Specialized Developmental Services created ‘The West Village’. At The West Village, Stephanie does an astounding job of supporting NOT ONLY all 14 of our senior individuals with developmental disabilities but ALSO doing everything she can to keep her staff safe & keep their spirits up during this difficult time. She often spoils us with random little Gifts/tokens of appreciation that she leaves in each of our mailboxes. She frequently ruins all our fitness goals by laying out a whole spread of goodies in our staff lounge with funny little puns/notes. She is even going above and beyond to make sure parents of loved ones within our home stay connected by helping them arrange FaceTime calls, something she doesn’t NEED to do but is just that empathetic. I’ve never met anyone as creative and compassionate as her, and I likely never will again - she is truly one of a kind and a constant inspiration. She is truly the rock that holds our team together and she deserves this more than anyone for all her tireless efforts. She is also an amazing wife & mother to two beautiful twins as well, how she manages to do it all I’ll NEVER know.


Tamar H. is an incredible woman who is inspiring black youth to get excited about the tech world. Tamar founded Tech Spark Canada and is a multi-award winning entrepreneur. Tech Spark is Canada’s first tech and design school committed to empowering girls and children of colour through innovative education. It exists to teach children and teens that they are much more than consumers, and that they hold the power to become creators and innovators. The mission is to transform the lives of girls and children of colour through (culturally relevant, equitable and innovative) tech education. Since Tamar launched this in 2015, she has successfully educated over 1200 students. They have helped redesign the high school curriculum to be more reflective of black students identity. Their work is possible through corporate sponsors. Through COVID they offer online courses in coding and have launched Edulytics, an online learning solution. It is a solution that can predict learning gaps and create hyper-personalized lesson plans based on each student’s learning style and learning level. Their AI-powered tutor understands each student’s needs, and adapts lessons in real time. The tutor is able to quickly identify potential learning gaps, and suggest culturally relevant material to improve comprehension. With a holistic, data-driven view of each student, teachers and school administrators can easily align insights to their board’s strategic goals, meet provincial reporting requirements, better understand personalized learning needs, and increase the readiness and employability of their students.  She inspires everyone around her.


Haafid has volunteered in a number of organizations for most of his life. Most recently, he has spearheaded the Conquer Covid-19 initiative and worked tirelessly, night and day, to bring priority products that are in short supply but essential for the healthcare community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conquer COVID-19 is comprised of physicians, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and other volunteers who are working together to ensure frontline workers responsible for the health and wellbeing of Canadians have access to masks, gloves, and other supplies that are essential in treating patients and minimizing the spread of the virus.  He believes in giving back and helping those in need. He feels lucky to work with a team of incredible people in support of others.


Stacy-Ann Buchanan is a professionally trained theater and film actress but also is a leader in the black community in the area of mental health. She is a Motivational Leader and Mental Health Advocate where she shares her powerful journey towards her own success while inspiring others to turn their Pain into Power and to Make their Passion their Paycheck. She runs a podcast called The Blind Stigma that focuses on mental health in the black community. The Blind Stigma was first a documentary, gave a voice to Black Canadians living with mental illness, and won multiple Canadian awards. Stacy-Ann is a true powerhouse. She founded The Mystic Effect event featuring a combination of fashion, poetry, music and art - giving a stage to many black Canadians. Stacy-Ann's ability to share her own journey has allowed others to have a voice. She is an incredible community hero, breaking down the stigma of mental health for people of all colours, but especially the black communities. She inspires everyone around her.


Oliva has supported her community during COVID-19 through her family's restaurant Ellen's Place where they have donated meals to local healthcare workers on the front lines, and arranging delivery of hot mealsto hospitals downtown alongside the organization Operation Head to Toe. Olivia is a full time Echo Sonographer at a local hospital, and spends her evenings and weekends volunteering for MLSE Launchpad - a program designed to explore and measure how sport can help improve the lives of youth.  Since the center closed during COVID-19, Olivia has hosted several online trivia nights to raise money for the organization. Thank you, Olivia!


Sandra volunteers for a local grassroots team of people offering 100% contactless delivery to help local restaurants through COVID-19, spearheading the recruitment process of getting restaurants to sign up. Their service is no charge to the restaurants or the guests. Sandra also encourages and accept donations of canned goods and cash which is donated to Daily Bread Food Bank in Etobicoke. This service is entirely built with intention to help small restaurant owners stay afloat and keep a few staff employed during this pandemic, and helps less people be out getting take out as a result. She is also a scout leader and has volunteered her time at local community events. Sandra is an amazing, selfless person and we are so happy to honor her!


Daniel Lauzon, who runs Food For Now, is out helping Toronto's homeless community, working tirelessly to collect water, meals, clothing, tents, PPE and more. Food For Now is not just about food, but helping one person at a time. Taking care of the homeless makes for a stronger community. "When we all do a little, it can do so much", says Daniel, creator of this incredible initiative. You can learn more and donate to this cause on his website. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoodforNow 


Michelle Beaton started the Neighbourhood Window Walk which encourages families to spend the morning decorating a window in their house with the theme of the day. Then, in the afternoon, head out for some fresh air and try to spot as many other decorated windows as possible in their communities. Thank you, Michelle, for your positivity & creativity!

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