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By Jim Stewart
Long-time Nobleton No-Frills owner John Ciarallo, who was renowned for his contributions and support of the King Food Bank, was honoured recently by the Lions Club in a ceremony that extolled the virtues of selfless service to community.
Ciarallo was presented with the Lions Club's prestigious Helen Keller Fellowship Award and the descriptor on the plaque summarized his decades-long commitment to the less fortunate: “The Helen Keller Fellowship is presented to John Ciarallo who, through untiring service, has given light in the darkness, warmth in the cold, compassion in the hurt, and humanity in the suffering to their fellow being. They live the creed ‘Service to Others'.”
In its presentation, the Lions Club also cited one of Helen Keller's poignant insights which is reflective of Ciarallo's efforts to restore light to the darkened lives of many: “The only lightless dark is the night of darkness in ignorance and insensibility.”
Nobleton Lions Club President Andrew Bevil presented the award to Ciarallo and lauded the former resident's impact on King Township: “He's a very charitable person. John was very kind-hearted in supporting Lions Club initiatives, especially as they related to the Food Bank. We're going to miss him. He was a big part of the community.”
Councillor David Boyd also complimented Ciarallo's ardent community service: “I would like to add my congratulations. John has a huge heart. His generosity and care for our community were always evident.”
Our sit-down conversation at Tim Horton's in downtown Bolton yields many insights into John Ciarallo's priorities as a family man and businessman. The gregarious grocer – who had been a No Frills franchise owner for over 42 – discussed his connection to the Lions Club and, by extension, to the King Food Bank: “I've been a franchise owner in the grocery business with NoFrills in Thornhill as well as Nobleton and have led as many as 400 employees. I gravitated to the Lions Club because of the good things they do in the community. The used my store for raffles and we set up tables for their various fundraising projects. Through the store and the Lions Club, I got involved with helping with the King Food Bank. We set up collection bins for donations to the Food Bank in the store. My most satisfying moment in helping the Food Bank was improving their collection bin and distribution methods. We designed a walk-in bin that was all metal and had a gate for much easier handling of donated food and it helped make distribution much more efficient for the volunteers.”
Ciarallo also expressed satisfaction as a store owner since he was able to offer so many members of the community their first job: “My most satisfying part of the job was giving so many kids their first job and so many of my former employees have become department heads and managers with No-Frills.”
In addition to deriving satisfaction by providing food for the hungry and employment opportunities for young, it's also evident in our discussion that John Ciarallo's two priorities guide his life: family first and a very close second is community service.
Ciarallo moved to Bolton to support the immediate needs of his family and misses Nobleton and his connection to the community. He ends our conversation with a simple, off-the-cuff credo that explains why he dedicates time and effort to community service, especially as it relates to feeding the hungry through The King Food Bank: “I do what I do because I give a $%#!.”
It is evident that in both word and deed, John Ciarallo does care about his community and the Nobleton Lions Club's recognition of the kind-hearted grocer was timely and well-earned.
Excerpt: Long-time Nobleton No-Frills owner John Ciarallo, who was renowned for his contributions and support of the King Food Bank, was honoured recently by the Lions Club in a ceremony that extolled the virtues of selfless service to community.
Post date: 2023-11-01 14:25:23
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