2023 Lifetime Achievement Honouree
If you ever meet Peter Wixson, a tireless advocate for the hungry for more than thirty years, you will be greeted with a warm smile and likely a conversation about the Vaughan Food Bank, particularly about being a good neighbour to those in need in Vaughan and the greater York Region area.
Peter began with the Village of Woodbridge Food Bank in 1990 and the Vaughan Food Bank in 1995, as their Executive Director. Over the years, Peter’s work and dedication has transformed the Vaughan Food Bank into a successful charitable organization, also increasing its food distribution substantially. Peter continues to believe that this Portraits of Giving award and similar recognition is not for his role, but for the collective support he receives from volunteers, local corporations and businesses, schools, ratepayers’ associations and community organizations, and fellow community members in reducing hunger in Vaughan and across York Region.
The Vaughan Food Bank’s motto is Hunger Takes No Holiday. Peter says food is the common denominator that can bridge us together. The food bank is a passion and a labour of love for Peter—and the public, the food bank volunteers, and community partners have all become Peter’s friends and extended family for which he is grateful.
Peter was inspired at a very young age. Being the youngest of five siblings and raised by a caring grandmother following the death of his father at the tender age of three months, he and his family often relied on the generosity of neighbours, family, and friends to get through lean times. These experiences regularly reminded them to have empathy for others for one day you may be called upon to help those less fortunate too.
Vaughan Food Bank affords Peter a meaningful channel to give back to the community through the great work that he and his compassionate team does, fostering long and fruitful partnerships within the community. Peter will always cherish the incredible relationships he’s developed with generous donors and amazing and selfless volunteers. It takes a special kind of person to work at the Vaughan Food Bank, along with a caring and compassionate community and Board of Directors who provide constant support and encouragement.
Incredibly, the food bank thrived during the pandemic, as they were very quick to make the necessary and ongoing changes and somehow remained flexible yet focused on their primary goal to help feed their neighbours. Public support has been outstanding, enabling them to increase the amount of food available to those in need.
There are organizations and associations that do great things, but ultimately it all comes down to people. People, and only people, can make a true difference in some else’s life.