By TOM GODFREY
A Brampton financial services worker has launched his second food raising drive to help the poor and needy in that city.
Last year, Mark McKenzie raised more than 2,000 lbs. of non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army of Brampton.
“I am so excited to be doing this again,” McKenzie told Share. “The response from the community has been very encouraging.”
McKenzie, who was born in Jamaica and is a 16-year member of Toastmasters International, is hoping to raise about 3,000 lbs. of food this year.
“There is a lot of demand for food around this time of the year,” he said. “We have to help others in our community.”
The father of three got into charity work as part of a High Performance Leadership exercise required to obtain a Distinguished Toastmaster Credit with Toastmasters. Since then, there has been no turning back.
The drive, that runs until December 17, will seek and pick up goods from area residents and merchants.
“The initiative is very well supported by members from Toastmasters clubs,” said McKenzie. “We also received generous contributions from the business community.”
He is encouraging fellow Toastmasters in Brampton and Mississauga to pitch in.
McKenzie said many residents are in need and he has counted about 100 people who show up daily for a free breakfast at a church in Brampton.
“All the food is donated by area businesses,” he said. “The kitchen is busy and there is always people coming in.”
Gordon Randell, of the Salvation Army of Brampton, said items most in need include canned fish, pasta, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese dinners and coffee (instant and perk) as well as other non-perishable food items.
McKenzie also works as a professional motivational speaker, corporate trainer and youth mentor. His consulting company has completed projects in 20 countries and he is a blogger on McKenzie’s Voice, a web page to motivate and inspire youths.
He is also a co-ordinator of Leaders Leave Legacies Workshop for high school and college students and teachers in Peel Region.
In addition, McKenzie is also an advocate against Youth Violence and Human Trafficking in the Greater Toronto Area.
Vitaly Fursov, a public relations officer for Toastmasters, District 86, said he is pleased by McKenzie’s “contribution to community living”.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development, with a membership of 313,000. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 14,650 clubs in 126 countries.
McKenzie can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.