Amma Canada, formerly known as Amma Foundation of Canada, was registered as a charitable organization in 2003. Prior to incorporation as a charity, volunteers from the Greater Toronto area used to collect clothing, non perishable food items and household appliances and donate them to established charities such as Covenant House, Jean Tweed Centre, St.Felix Centre, Interim Place, Red Door Shelter,..etc. Similarly, funds raised through garage sales were donated to these charities. In addition, volunteers used to participate in soup kitchens at St.Felix Centre, Salvation Army and Scott Mission. In May 2008, the purchase of a property located at 9158 Trafalgar Road, Georgetown, Ontario, in the Halton Hills area led to an increase in the scope of the activities. A soup kitchen was started – a hot meal has been prepared once a month since June 2009 at the certified kitchen on the premises and distributed to the clients of Georgetown Bread Basket. From mid 2016, the frequency of soup kitchens at GBB was increased to twice a month.
The association with St.Felix Centre continues. In May 2009 the children at risk from the Centre were taken on a full day picnic to the Niagara Falls area and in each of the following years, the children have been taken to the Lions Safari Park, Canadian Heritage Park in Milton, Toronto Zoo, the Confederation park in Hamilton, Legoland and other locations. Starting November 2016, Amma Canada volunteers have been participating in the Extreme Cold Weather Drop in program for the homeless at St.Felix.
In 2012 Amma Canada worked with Peel Children’s Aid Foundation (PCAF) and donated a bursary to help a disadvantaged youth take up a course at the University of York. In each year after that, Amma Canada has been awarding more bursaries , the number being decided through discussions with PCAF. Again, in 2015 Amma Canada signed a five-year contract with a registered Canadian charitable organization known as Fondation QHASUQ to award bursaries to six women students enrolled in computer-engineering and related programs at ISTEAH in Haiti.
For the last few years, Amma Canada has been filling Christmas baskets with gifts requested by families in need, and distributing them through registered charities such as PCAF, Bennett Health Care Centre, Links 2 Care and others. Volunteers in Vancouver have been distributing similar baskets and in Quebec the volunteers have been baking cookies and collecting warm stockings for the homeless.
The property at 9158 Trafalgar Road (Georgetown) consists of fourteen acres of cultivated land which used to be leased out to a local farmer. Since 2008 no chemical fertilizers or pesticides have been applied to the soil. Instead, a cover crop has been applied so that in the course of the years all the chemicals would be used up. At one corner of the land, a vegetable garden has been started, over half an acre, again without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The vegetables are donated to local charities. In 2010, the volunteers started a fruit orchard with over three hundred fruit trees such as apples, pears, cherries and peaches. As in the case of vegetables, the fruits are also given to local charities. In addition to working on the property, volunteers have been planting trees in the Mississauga and Scarborough areas, and adopting a park in Brampton. Also on the property, bee hives have been set up and the bees have been pollinating the neighbouring areas. From the summer of 2009 onwards, the bees have been producing an impressive quantity of honey every year.
Volunteers have been involved in other activities such as teaching meditation techniques to the inmates at Maplehurst and Vanier correctional centres in Milton and in writing letters of support to the inmates at the Vanier correctional facility.
The above is a brief description of the activities in the Greater Toronto area. Volunteers have been running similar projects to serve the needy and the homeless in other centres such as Montreal in Quebec and Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia.
Amma Canada is looking for other opportunities to serve the needs of the less fortunate in the community. We are confident that we can expand our role in a meaningful way to address these needs