Realtor who credits Food Pantry with saving family helps feed 500 more
Colin Campbell arrived in Canada from Guyana in 2003, newly married and ready to start over.
From his first jobs selling newspaper subscriptions outside a Toronto subway station to running several electronics stores, he quickly built a life for himself and his family, but that all changed when he was laid off during a corporate restructuring.
Fearless, he spent the next year as a stay-at-home dad before returning to retail, but he was a changed man. He wanted to pursue his passion for real estate and that is exactly what he did, with the encouragement of his wife.
But it was a difficult road. Six months into her new career, the family saw their finances drained and, for the very first time, found themselves in the Aurora Food Pantry to make ends meet.
It was a brutal shock to the system and an experience he would not soon forget, but now that he has found success as a broker in the Aurora and Newmarket community with Keller Williams Realty Centers he is working hard. this holiday season to improve the lives of people who depend on the organizations that have helped him when he needed it most.
On Saturday, in partnership with Curtis White, director of Aurora’s Real Canadian Superstore, Campbell delivered ingredients for more than 500 holiday meals to organizations ranging from the Aurora Food Pantry to Newmarket’s Inn from the Cold.
âWhen I got into real estate, the first six to nine months were very difficult because I left a job in a company where I was no longer happy and did not feel fulfilled, and I decided to pursue something I love, âsays Campbell. . âSix months later, we got to a point where there were more days left than money in the bank. My wife and I spoke and she said, âThe next thing we can do is go to the food bank.
âI had been in Canada for over 20 years and had never been to a food bank, never had UI or something like that because I didn’t want to be taken out of the system. . We went to the food bank for almost four months and one day in our garage on a Saturday morning my wife was getting ready to pack for the food bank and there was that look in her eyes that I saw. like, ‘I’m happy to do this for my family,’ but I saw his disappointment as a husband. That look isn’t something I think she would recognize or admit, but just seeing that it was almost my breaking point where I felt my back was finally against the wall. It’s only at times like this that you realize how strong you are.
His work paid off and the money started to flow. He started a business and, looking back on his food bank experience, he’s grateful because they were there when they needed him. Now he is there for them.
Since 2019, Campbell and White have been working together to collect food for the Food Pantry and similar organizations. They started with the goal of feeding 100 families in the first year, but managed to serve 150. In their second year, at the height of the global pandemic, they set themselves a goal of helping 200, but eventually collected 300.
This year that number has climbed to 500 families who, due to a turkey shortage, will receive hams with all trimmings.
âThe last thing I wanted to do was hand out 500 meals,â Campbell says, âand that wasn’t the route we wanted to go. We wanted to give directly to food banks because they have a way of deciding who gets it. I needed the food bank a long time ago, so now that I’m in a position to help, I want to give back through these same channels.
âIf you have enough and someone is in need, you share. I didn’t have enough at one point and our local food bank helped save my family. Now, through our collaboration with Curtis, we are able to support 500 families in York Region. Next year the goal will be 1,000. The big goal that Curtis and I joke about is what would it look like if we had to feed a million people? What would it look like? Let’s start this journey!