Toronto

Justin Bieber gets thanks from Stratford charity that helped him as a child

When Justin Bieber hit the stage at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall Monday night, it was in aid of Stratford's House of Blessing, and people at the food bank and outreach centre want the Canadian pop superstar to know they're grateful.

Canadian pop superstar praised for 'remembering how hard it can be'

House of Blessing volunteer Lorilynne Ruby welcomes Justin Bieber's generosity. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)

When Justin Bieber hit the stage at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall Monday night, it was in aid of Stratford's House of Blessing, and people at the food bank and outreach centre want the Canadian pop superstar to know they're grateful.

Proceeds from the $100-a-head benefit concert will go towards supporting the charity based in Stratford, Ont., about a two-hour drive west of Toronto.

The centre played a role in the 21-year-old's upbringing. Bieber's mother used its services when he was a child growing up in the Stratford area.

Straford House of Blessing executive director Theresa McMurray told CBC News she has a message for Bieber: "Thank you, Justin. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for remembering how hard it can be." 

Bieber has already given to the charity, donating $10,000 in 2011, and has since signed childhood items to be auctioned on eBay to support the centre.

"I think the lesson for all of us is to give back when we've been helped," said McMurray.

Last year the food bank at House of Blessing served 6,500 people. As well as the food bank, the House of Blessing offers cooking classes, life skills workshops and a Christmas toy drive.

Proceeds from Justin Bieber's benefit concert Monday at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall are going to the House of Blessing in Stratford, a charity that helped him as a child. (Makda Ghebreslassie)

"When you have to ask for help, to put food on the table and clothes on your children's back, it's a horrible, horrible feeling. I cried," said Lorilynn Ruby, recalling her first trip to the food bank in 1999.

Ruby, a grandmother and single mother of three, is now also a volunteer at the food bank. She is thrilled that Bieber, who was once a client is now giving back.

"That's what makes it so beautiful, is that he's been on this side of needing", she said. "I don't know if he realizes the impact he has on what he gives here."

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