5 social enterprises that make giving back part of your to-do list
Tick everything off your to-do list and do good at the same time thanks to these GTA businesses
By Kristen Koch
Getting everything on your to-do list done can be a slog. But when you make shopping at social enterprises part of your routine, at least you can give back at the same time. Social enterprises are businesses fueled by profit—and purpose—and help to provide training and work opportunities to people facing barriers to employment, including mental illness, disability and homelessness.These five GTA spots focus on hiring underemployed communities while providing great service. And that means you can show your community a little love while blazing through errands like a champ.
Pick up bake-sale goodies at Cristina’s Tortina Shop
At last: cupcakes you can feel good about feeding your kids. Mary Iusso started this Brampton bake shop, which makes a point of hiring people with Down syndrome and other special needs, after her daughter Cristina was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Grab a dozen cupcakes (they’re the namesake “tortinas,” or little cakes) or order a special-occasion cake like the signature sprinkle. 332 Main St. N., Unit 3, Brampton, Ont., www.cristinastortinashop.com.
Send packages via Good Foot Delivery
Get parcels and documents from A to Z with a courier service founded to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Even better, the company is environmentally friendly, since its couriers deliver packages both on foot and via Toronto public transit. And if the company’s cheery tweets about everything from excitement over lunch to the city’s architectural gems are any indication, your envelope or box will arrive with a smile. 720 Bathurst St., Unit 411, Toronto, www.goodfootdelivery.com.
Have flyers, invitations and more printed at Options
Whether it’s a last-minute photocopy, printing flyers for a yard sale, getting a new batch of business cards or ordering next year’s holiday cards (aren’t you ahead of the game!), this Mississauga print shop can handle it all. While most of the printing is done on the spot, the store has partnerships with wholesale printers for any jobs that can’t be handled in house. 113 Lakeshore Rd W, Mississauga, Ont., www.optionsmississauga.com.
Get that sticky bike brake fixed at Switchback Cyclery
If your daily ride is looking or feeling worse for wear, take it in for a tune-up at this non-profit bike shop, which serves the Riverside neighbourhood and employs people from marginalized communities. They can sell you a new helmet or accessories or help you design a custom ride (and then build it for you), and will even come to cut your lock if you’ve lost the keys. 651 Queen St. E., Toronto, www.switchbackcyclery.ca.
Find a one-of-a-kind gift at Jubilee Designs
Other people always seem to be having birthdays or weddings or babies. So, get them a present they’ll be happy to unwrap from this downtown shop, which teaches homeless and at-risk youth craft skills and sells their handiwork. Our suggestions: a sturdy Toronto Loves Everybody tote for a bookworm, a sailboat-print silk scarf for your chicest pal and a FeMINIst onesie for the most politically aware baby on the block. 381 Yonge St, Toronto, www.jubileedesigns.ca.