With deep sadness, the volunteers and staff at Daily Bread Food Bank mourn the passing of the organization’s founder, Sister Marie Tremblay. Sister Marie was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) order and died peacefully on October 29, 2021.
Sister Marie Tremblay had a long passion for social justice issues. In 1983, she worked with community members to found the Daily Bread Food Bank to alleviate hunger for the city’s most vulnerable and advocate for systemic change. With a deep concern about escalating poverty and food scarcity in the city, Sister Marie set out to collect and distribute food to small, community-based food banks across Toronto.
Daily Bread’s first home was in what is known today as Liberty Village. It was a small operation until Sister Marie helped organize a big push from rock and roll icon Bruce Springsteen, who made a $34,000 donation at a Toronto concert in 1985, sparking a wave of other donations and volunteerism. “Bruce put us on the map”, she later said. Sister Marie used the funds to purchase Daily Bread’s first refrigerated truck.
Almost thirty years later, Daily Bread remains committed to fulfilling Sister Marie’s legacy by meeting the emergency food needs of tens of thousands of individuals experiencing hunger, while at the same time, advocating for long-term solutions to end the root cause of hunger – poverty.
This past year, close to 17M lbs of food were distributed to 189 food programs in Toronto. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity, and food bank visits have almost doubled, going from 60,000 per month to 110,000+, Daily Bread continues to work towards a hunger-free city where the right to food is realized for every person in need.
Upon Sister Marie’s passing, we invite the public to reflect on how Sister Marie saw a need and took action, guided by her faith. This has led to a legacy of care for the community she leaves behind.
A private mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, November 6.
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Photo via Toronto Public Library archive.