We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Zeeshan Sumrani from The Mississauga Food Bank in Mississauga, ON.
What is your role in food banking?
I am the Director of Programs & Operations at The Mississauga Food Bank leading the implementation of our strategic priorities in these areas. I design programs and work with agency partners and help get food out to clients in the most efficient and effective way possible in the current context.
Describe a typical day in one word.
What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
I migrated to Canada in 2018 and went through the anxiety of being a newcomer in a new context. This helps me empathize with the situation of a lot of our clients. I have also worked in International Development in the past and in my experience I realize that food can be the most important medium of social change. This inspired me to explore how to use food as a medium to combat poverty.
What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
Designing, implementing and scaling the Food Bank 2 Home program which has become such an essential service for seniors, people with disabilities and single mothers during this pandemic. The program was serving 50 households before the pandemic and has served over 1000 households since then.
What is your greatest challenge in your current role?
Maintaining the level of client service through dignity and choice during the pandemic in a safe and social distant way.
If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
Basic Income based on market realities for all. It’s unacceptable in a country like ours to have people choose between paying for food or paying rent. Goes against the very spirit of humanity.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I was good at arts and crafts so that I would’ve another medium to express myself through color and paper. I’m always fascinated by those who can, its a real gift.
If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?
Trust your instincts, they are almost never wrong.
Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life
Nelson Mandela – never gave up the fight for what he believed in was right and fair.
What is your idea of happiness?
‘I made a difference in someone’s life today’ – if I know that I feel happy.
What is your motto?
Ask and you shall receive.
Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
I am a storyteller and public speaker at heart. I love telling stories and making up analogizes to make sense of the world around me and to explain concepts to people. I have the ability to speak to anyone as long as they would let me.
Your theme song?
Eye of the Tiger from Rocky
Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.