Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Donna Gray at today’s City Council meeting.
Donna works for the Somerset West Community Health Centre and is the coordinator of Good Food Markets, which improves access to healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income communities. When Good Food Markets were piloted in 2012, Donna carried out the initial needs assessment, insuring a strong foundation for the project and the best possible service for families.
She recruits volunteers for each market day, building community and offering job experience to community members. She continues to advocate for more funding for Good Food Markets to increase food security for low-income families.
Donna was also recognized for her community-building efforts in the Rochester Heights community of Ottawa Community Housing (OCH).
A resident of Rochester Heights for the past seven years, Donna is a vital connector and resource to fellow residents, helping them to locate and navigate all kinds of supports – from public transit to household furnishings to access to fresh, affordable food. She is a community leader who nurtures friendship, dignity, and a sense of belonging and being respected.
In 2010, she was a driving force in a community-wide effort to build two new play structures for the families of Rochester Heights. With her help the community raised $33,000 and built the play areas and structures together.
She was also instrumental in neighbourhood revitalization projects such as repaving the basketball courts and applying for OCH community capital grants used to install picnic tables and flower planters at every unit.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.
Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.
The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.