Food Banker Spotlight – Stacy Elia, GBF Community Services

We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Stacy Elia from GBF (Grimsby Benevolent Fund) Community Services in Grimsby, Ontario.

What is your role in food banking?
I am the Executive Director of GBF Community Services located in Grimsby, Ontario. In my position, I observe the needs of our clients and the community to ensure we are providing resources and leading-edge programs to assist in addressing hunger and those who are experiencing difficult times.

Describe a typical day in one word.
Challenging – no two days are the same.

What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
I have always been the person that thinks of others, especially in time of need. I believe that every individual and corporation has the potential to make a difference in others’ lives. I started as a volunteer because I had great respect for our late founder Mike Barretto and all that he accomplished in Grimsby. It is an honour and privilege to lead this agency to greater opportunities.

What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
My greatest achievement would be bringing all our operations under one roof. As a result, recognizing tremendous growth in our operations and increased programing especially with the development of our Rent Supplement Program to address the lack of affordable housing in our community. We are currently investing $280,000+ to prevent homelessness in Grimsby.

What is the greatest challenge in your current role?
The work that I do is challenging work because I am interacting with so much pain/difficulty of others. I end up connecting with a lot of difficult experiences that many times cannot be fixed in a few visits. I try to help give voice and help others find their voice. It is very important that those we serve in our community understand that they have rights and the ability to seek dignified service, always.

If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada, what would it be?
My wish would be to have an income program that allows people to afford basic necessities such as food and shelter.

What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to have the ability to sing. Many who know me know I love the power and inspiration of music.

If you could tell your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Challenge yourself every day to bigger opportunities and experiences as it is important to self -growth and fulfillment. Set bigger goals than you believe you are capable of achieving and amaze yourself. Life can be short sometimes so make your life matter.

Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life.
My parents are my heroes. They instilled very good work ethic and passion to care for others. I was taught very young to never walk by someone in need without assisting as that is someone’s someone and they matter.

What is your idea of happiness?
Happiness for me is inspiring others to be the best that they can be. Happiness doesn’t result from what I might get, but from what I can give others. My happiness is a result of the joy I feel when the achievement of our team is accomplished to meet the many needs of our community. I am so proud of the GBF Team!

What is your motto?
Never underestimate your ability to make someone else’s life better – the power of one.

What’s something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I love to decorate my home for every holiday. I especially love the Christmas season as it gives me opportunity to bring my 250+ collection of nutcrackers out for display. I love to still see the joy on my adult daughters faces when they see the decorations coming out.

What’s your theme song?
“I Believe” by Fantasia Barrino is one that resonates with me.

Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at