Volunteer Spotlight: Willard


Willard has been volunteering with our program for just over a year now. Over the course of the last year he has faithfully served over 170 hours. During his time here you’ll always find him ready to pack a hamper when we call it out to the warehouse, or keeping busy by stocking shelves or re-packaging food and other items.

I often joke with Willard when I’m writing down the quotas for the hamper audit that I’m also filling out his performance review. So while he’s packing the hamper we’ll share a few laughs and playful criticisms. Then it dawned on me, that when I asked him to do a spotlight on him, I should phrase it to him that this is the performance review that we’ve joked about so many times but for real. So I’ll tell you the answers to the questions that he shared with me and then my overall opinion of his performance at the end.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

“My group of friends at church does a lot of volunteering with Christmas hampers and other projects so that’s what began to spark my interest in different organizations that I may be able to help out with. But it was mostly through my friend Oscar that I learned about this program. He has been volunteering here for many years and suggested it as a good opportunity to provide me with a regular volunteer schedule, which is what I was really looking for.”

Are there any other programs that you volunteer or have volunteered with?

“I’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity and I worked with Mennonite Disaster Service to clean up in Grand Valley and in New Orleans.  I like to help out at church whenever I’m needed.  I also enjoy helping our kids when asked.”

Why is volunteering important to you?
“Volunteering helps me continue the values I learned when I was a boy scout. I took an oath and want to stick to it: ‘On my honor I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Plus volunteering or helping others is something that I have always enjoyed doing at any chance I get.”

How has volunteering made an impact in your life?

“I believe when you give something, you always receive more back than you originally gave. So volunteering not only allows me to help others, which I enjoy doing, but also allows me to meet and connect with the staff, volunteers and patrons of this program.”

What’s your favourite job at our program?

“Packing hampers is probably my favourite job. When I first started I was really surprised at the different types of people I’d encounter throughout the day; and it’s always touching when the patrons offer such a genuine and warm ‘thank you’. Another reason I enjoy packing hampers is because it’s taught me about some other cultures such as Halal diets. I wouldn’t say I’ve become an expert, since I always encourage patrons to check through their food before they leave to acknowledge any mistakes I may have made to help me learn for future hampers.”

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not volunteering?

“I’m interested in photography. I like watching and playing sports. I enjoy traveling, and spending time with my grandchildren whenever I can. I also enjoy cooking.”

What types of things do you often cook?

“I really like baking bread. We have a bread maker at home but I don’t use it. I’ll bake bread to take over to friends’ houses, or to be used at church communion.”

Well Willard, when we finished the interview I told you the overall outlook for your performance review was ok, but in all seriousness it was amazing! Like many of the other volunteers that we see day-to-day, Willard would earn and deserve an “E” (if we were to actually do a review of our volunteers). He’s an Excellent volunteer for so many reasons: Willard helps make the day more fun by sharing some laughs with you throughout the day; seems to have an endless amount of energy to pack hampers throughout the day; is always willing to help out with any task that needs to be done; and the list could keep going on! Thanks coming on board with us Willard! It’s really been a pleasure getting to know you more each week, and especially through this interview. I look forward to getting to know you more, and completing more “performance” reviews each week! You’re a wonderful person!!

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