Yes, she’s had to pivot the direction of her formidable volunteer efforts due to the pandemic, but local hero Sandy Pitts is working extra hard to make sure Mississauga residents in need have enough food.
Pitts loves her community. She and her husband Reg made Streetsville their home in 1988 and raised their family there. In 1998, Sandy opened Once Upon A Time, a children’s educational toy and bookstore, which she operated until 2004.
Since 2008, Pitts has held the role as Event and Sponsorship Coordinator for the award-winning Streetsville Bread & Honey Festival, which is normally held the first week of June. Founded in 1973, the Festival draws more than 60,000 people to Streetsville Memorial Park. She was also the long-standing Sponsorship Coordinator of the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade and Streetsville’s Canada Day festivities.
Last March, as news of a potential lockdown emerged, Sandy knew that the 2020 Bread & Honey Festival would likely be cancelled. But instead of leaving a void, Sandy and her team of community leaders pivoted, focusing instead on the Bread and Honey Gives Back initiative, which has committed $35,000 of funding to support community services, meal plans and to support local artists.
Throughout the pandemic, Pitts has been an active volunteer in the Feed Mississauga program, whose mission it is to ensure no one in the city of Mississauga goes hungry during this turbulent time.
In lieu of the Festival, and on behalf of Bread and Honey Gives Back, Sandy enlisted the help of local caterer Dale D’Sousa, owner of Mississauga’s Two Guys and a Grill, to provide prepared meals at the Vic Johnston Community Centre and other locations in the
city for people in need. Historic Streetsville landmark and longtime Bread & Honey sponsor Ardent Mills even provided free flour so fresh bread and honey could be enjoyed!
I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to pursue my passion in event management and work on a multitude of events within my community
In addition to the Feed Mississauga initiative, the Bread and Honey Festival also hosted local performers to play for staff and seniors at various senior’s homes. Every weekend, seniors enjoyed watching and listening from their balconies and windows, or via online screens. Bread and Honey was able to support these performances with support from the City of Mississauga’s Arts and Culture Grant as well as the Canadian Heritage Grant.
D’Sousa continues to contribute loyally, and Pitts has also enlisted many local restaurateurs throughout Mississauga to prepare meals.
She’s also a steadfast volunteer with Mississauga’s Twas the Bite Before Christmas, whose mission is ‘Fight Hunger; Feed Hope, and Empower People in Need’. Sandy has also recently joined the growing team at Breakfast with Santa, which feeds hungry children during the summer months when school breakfast programs are non-existent and gives children and their families the opportunity to have the Christmas celebrations they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Ask this tireless woman for her perspective on her work?
“I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to pursue my passion in event management and work on a multitude of events within my community,” Sandy says.
By Kristy Elik