For Immediate Release

Serge Ibaka gets cooking with kids over March Break, launching a new partnership with CRC|Regent Park Community Food Centre to provide thousands of meals to those in Toronto’s downtown east.

TORONTO, March 11, 2019 – Serge Ibaka wants to inspire young people and use his profile to change the way people think about poverty, homelessness and food insecurity. The Raptors player’s foundation announces a new partnership with the CRC | Regent Park Community Food Centre to help alleviate hunger in the Regent Park neighborhood.

The FAST BREAK MEALS PARTNERSHIP includes a substantial contribution from the Serge Ibaka Foundation to support CRC’s Drop-in Meal Program, which will translate into thousands of nutritious, free meals, served in a dignified manner in CRC’s Community Hub, to people living with poverty and food insecurity in Toronto’s downtown east. CRC’s Drop-in Meal Program brings people who are struggling with food insecurity in the door, where staff can then help them access a wide range of other services, such as Food Skills and Advocacy programs. In basketball, fastbreaks are transitions, the whole team coming together to quickly change the game from defense to offense. The FAST BREAK MEALS PARTNERSHIP is focused on working as a team to overcome poverty.

Growing up poor in the Congo, Serge knows what it’s like to be hungry. He wants to inspire children and youth with his message of #anythingispossible, while making sure young people have access to the food they need to learn and grow.

To launch the partnership, Serge will be rolling up his sleeves in CRC’s community kitchen during March Break, as part of CRC’s Kids Cook and Grow program. A group of lucky children and youth from Regent Park will prepare and share a Congolese meal with Serge.

Serge’s inspiration for this partnership began during his first days as a Raptor living in Toronto. “I grew up extremely poor in the Congo and I learned what hunger and homelessness were as a child. I was surprised to see so many people living on Toronto’s streets. It was difficult to understand how poverty and hunger could exist in such a wealthy city. I felt like the Foundation had to take action and try to make an impact in Toronto’s communities.”

Serge and his Foundation chose CRC | Regent Park Community Food Centre for the FAST BREAK MEALS PARTNERSHIP because of the neighborhood’s deep need and great resilience, and CRC’s long history working alongside the residents of Regent Park to create high-impact food security, skills-building and advocacy programs. “I want to inspire children and youth living in Regent Park, by sharing my stories of growing up with very little, and how perseverance can make anything possible.”

Says CRC’s Executive Director, Claire Barcik, “We are so grateful for this truly generous gift. It’s clear to us that Serge’s interest goes way beyond helping us put healthy delicious food on plates, although this is critically important too. He understands that food insecurity arises from larger systemic issues, is complex, and that people using our food centre come from all walks of life to access a host of services and skills-building programs, become engaged, advocate for their community and build their lives. That includes children and youth, and families surviving on minimum wage.”

About the Serge Ibaka Foundation:

The Serge Ibaka Foundation wants to inspire children around the world to believe in themselves no matter how hard their circumstances are. Going through difficult times as a kid himself, Serge Ibaka is determined to help the kids of Congo, Toronto and the rest of the World through his Foundation, focusing on the issues of health and education. Partnering with established and key organizations, the Foundation takes action to make an impact on the communities and on the children that need the most help, improving their living conditions and encouraging them to use Serge Ibaka’s story as an inspiration to set goals for their lives.

About the CRC | Regent Park Community Food Centre:

CRC is an innovative, mid-sized, multi-service agency which has proudly served Toronto’s downtown east community for over 50 years. We provide innovative solutions which help residents of Regent Park and the surrounding neighborhoods enrich community well-being, improve economic conditions, realize their potential and direct their lives. Home to Regent Park’s only not-for-profit, deeply affordable supported housing, our community hub provides superb, nutritious meals, housing supports, drop-in programs, advocacy, showers and laundry services, and Taste of Regent Park, our weekly summer food festival. Our Regent Park Community Food Centre offers a suite of free high-impact programs such as Food Skills, Culinary Skills Training, Peer Advocacy, and an Urban Garden Program that supports 187 community gardens in Regent Park.

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