Volunteer Spotlight – Rupert “Rubarb” Anderson


Another long time volunteer comes in regularly, and starts the day with his chipper greeting in the warehouse, “Morning everybody!”.  The expected repsonse is, “Morning Rupert!” If there isn’t a response, we will be greeted  again until we answer. This ritual is part of our daily culture, and it wouldn’t be the same around here if we didn’t have Rupert’s greeting to look forward to.

Rupert has been with our program for a little over 12 years or almost 2700 volunteer hours! He was looking for something to do to get out of the house for a few hours a day. A knee injury prevented him returning to work, and he was approaching retirement. He found the perfect place to call home for 3-4 days a week. He is our bread bin man and he does the dishes too. He keeps the bread bins spic and span and stocks them when we receive bread in from the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Along with his volunteer duties, Rupert is a long time ambassador of the House of Friendship; his picture, along with his  “2 amigos”, has graced many copies of House of Friendship literature  and the website over the years.

Paul, Salvador, and Rupert

How did you hear about the Emergency Food Hamper Program?

“I had heard that it opened, up the street from me, and I was looking for something to do since I wasn’t working anymore.  So I came in and asked if I could volunteer and they gave me a try out. I’ve stayed here ever since.”

What kind of work did you start out doing when you first started?

“I started on potatoes. Then I went to bagging buns for the lobby. We didn’t have the bread bins, so we had to bag them.”

Why is volunteering important to you?

“To keep me busy. I’ve met a lot of people, and made a few friends.”

How has volunteering impacted your life?

“It’s relaxing in a way… No pressure.”

What do you like to do in your spare time? I know you are a busy man.

“I like to cut the grass, and do yard work. I clean the windows for my wife.”

I heard you have a new shed. Who helped you set it up?

“My two boys helped me put it up.”

Who’s going to win the NHL playoffs? (I interviewed Rupert 2 weeks ago.)

“Chicago did last night.  Their first Stanley Cup win in 49 years.”

Ummm… I guess I don’t follow hockey so much. Okay favourite baseball team?

“The Bluejays.”

He makes everyone feel welcome when they volunteer. He will make you laugh, and he’ll dance with you if you feel inclined. I’ve actually adopted him as my grandpa. Thank you Rupert, from all of us, for all your hard work and years of service!

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