Archive for March, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight – Rob

March 31, 2011

There are certain tasks that we can’t always find a volunteer for, like washing totes. Part of the reason for this is that it’s kind of a boring job since the equipment is in a corner that’s somewhat blocked off from the rest of the warehouse. However Rob actually looks forward to this task; in fact it’s often one of the first things he does after signing in.

For the last twelve months our program has had the privilege of working with Rob. Rob comes in whenever we think we’ll need an extra set of hands in the afternoon in the warehouse. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight: Bruce

March 30, 2011

Here we have a brief snap shot of one of the many loads Bruce often lugs around the warehouse for us. We’re fortunate to see Bruce come in to volunteer with us twice a week in the mornings. He’s a huge help in getting us ready for our morning rush to serve hampers when we open at eleven.

Bruce has been volunteering with us for since December of 2002 – that’s almost ten years! In these ten years he’s volunteered for approximately 1 800 hours! That’s a big commitment, which isn’t slowing down because he’s already volunteered more than fifty hours this year alone! So to honor his dedication over all these years we wanted to take this chance to show you a little bit more about this wonderful volunteer.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

“When I started it was to come in with my son to help him get his high school community service hours. He’s been out of high school for quite a while, which means I’m probably coming up on my ten years now since I remember getting a five-year certificate for volunteering at an appreciation dinner a few years ago…I’ve seen a lot of people come and go here.”

Why is volunteering important to you?

“Probably because it allows me to help others, which makes me feel good. This is a rewarding experience because I’m doing something that makes a difference for people in emergency situations. Also it helps that you’re able to meet a variety of people.”

How has volunteering made an impact in your life?

“It’s opened my eyes to the number of needy people in our community. I never imagined that a food hamper program would serve so many hampers each day. Also I’ve learned more about the many different branches of House of Friendship. This is a huge organization full of a lot of good programs.”

On average this year we’ve provided approximately 159 hampers each day that we’re open. However it’s important to note that some days we’ve distributed over 200 hampers, while a few other days we’ve barely hit 100.

To read more about the various programs within House of Friendship, click here.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

“That’s a tough question, but probably bagging mushrooms…There’s no particular reason for it though.”

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

“I volunteer to help maintain an ice rink in Waterloo near my house throughout the winter. Also I help my neighbours by shoveling their driveways in the winter. But since that’s over, I’ll start helping some of my neighbours out by mowing their lawns. And I’ll keep busy with friends and family, and going hunting and fishing occasionally.”

Wow so not only is Bruce super-helpful at our program, he’s also an asset around his neighbourhood. And to quote him one final time, “if you’re thinking about volunteering, you should just do it. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.” Well said Bruce!

You can help NOURISH people in need!

March 30, 2011

Have you seen this product in the news lately? Campbell’s has been making headlines with some new ideas in eating and charitable giving. If you haven’t heard about the new soup I encourage you to nourish your mind by clicking here.  It’s worth the click.  We can wait.

One reason this soup has yet to come to grocery stores is because Campbell’s has focused production of the first 100 000 cans to donate to Food Banks Canada. Then following this generosity Campbell’s is planning to follow-up with a donation towards disaster relief efforts in Haiti.

But why is this new soup such a big deal? Well not only does their pop-top designs make it easy for anyone (in any place) to open the can, but it’s nutritious! Each 425 gram can provides a complete meal with a full serving of protein, vegetables, and grains, based on recommendations by Canada’s Food Guide,. Two other benefits of this soup are that it can be eaten hot or cold, and doesn’t require any addition of water before enjoying.  This is a major plus if you’re on the street, just had your hydro shut off or living in a disaster area with no fresh water.

Could it get any better?  Yes! Although Campbell’s has already committed to donating 100 000 cans to Food Banks Canada, they are willing to do more. However Campbell’s is looking for your support to do that! There are two ways you can show your support to accomplish this:

  • Visit their Facebook page. On there if you post a comment; like the page or video posted; watch the 2 minute video; or share the video on your own facebook page then Campbell’s will reciprocate by donating one can to Food Banks Canada.
  • Post a comment on Twitter (hashtag #Nourish) for Campbell’s to donate a can.

Campbell’s is hoping the community responds so they can donate another 100 000 cans before Hunger Awareness Day on May 31, 2011. We’re hoping that you can take a few minutes to help them reach this goal. Soup is shelf-stable food item that many food banks rely on to distribute in their food hampers. Although it’s not on the Food Bank’s top ten most needed food items, it’s still an important item to continually donate.

Have you taken a second to click and share a can of soup with a neighbour in need?

Rotten egg award

March 25, 2011

In the last part of our three part series, today, I will talk about April, the ignoble winner of the (now) infamous Rotten Egg Award for 2010.

Unfortunately April is a bad time for our food hampers to fall below the overall averages because April is a tricky time of the year for many patrons. At this time many patrons are trying to catch up on debts that they have accumulated over the holidays or during periods of seasonal unemployment before their EI claims were processed. For others the fact that outdoor seasonal employment, such as landscaping or construction, aren’t in full swing yet hits hard because their part-time hours aren’t sufficient to pay all the bills. Also student (summer) placement jobs don’t generally begin until late June, despite the fact that many students are done their university semesters and their OSAP before this. Plus at some point in the month many families and individuals will be looking forward to the idea of eating a big meal and sharing gifts with young children, as a part of celebrating Easter with their families but lack the funds and ability to do so. Clearly there are many different reasons why this is a bad time for food assistance programs to be running short on supplies. But with 2 581 households in need of assistance, how bad were things? (more…)

Golden Egg Award

March 24, 2011

If you’ve already read Matt’s post you’ll understand what this award is for, otherwise click here. I’m here to shine the spotlight on the month where we were able to provide the best nutritional hampers overall in 2010 November! (more…)

Time to roll out the red carpet!

March 23, 2011

Everybody likes a little recognition.  Awards are a big part of the entertainment and music industry.  The list of award ceremonies for music, TV, and movies is as long as my arm.  Businesses and entire industries also like to get into some fancy dress clothes and make long acceptance speeches to their own special groups. Each ceremony and its red carpet, dinner or other gathering is a way to provide kudos, honourable mentions and little statues that can be proudly displayed in the boardrooms/mantle places/walls of the lucky few.

I don’t think there is the equivalent of the Oscars or the Grammys for Food Banks, but there are a lot of things we need to acknowledge, be thankful for and generally shine a spot light on and say “good job!” (more…)

On average things are looking up!

March 21, 2011

With 2010 behind us we’ve been able to put it on the scales and gain some knowledge of what happened last year. Some of the knowledge I specifically try to gather each year is about the nutritional value of our food hampers, which you might remember from a previous post. (If not, you can read it here.) So with this in mind, let’s begin looking at how our food averages changed from 2009 to 2010. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight: Martin

March 18, 2011

Martin likes to keep his eye on the horizon, and we begin and end each week by knowing the latest from our friendly neighbourhood weather man. Martin faithfully comes in twice a week and always makes sure to pick up a paper, fold it to the weather section and to show the staff what’s in store for the week. Martin also wants to know if we think it’s a thumb up or thumbs down in our opinion (opinions are usually pretty mixed).

He works very hard at making sure things are ready and setup for several of our volunteers who do specialized tasks like recycling old food slips.  He always has a friendly word or a peice of trivia to share and we are all very proud to count Martin as a part of our extended family. He’s been coming here since June of 2001 – which is almost ten years! In all those years he’s volunteered for about 4000 hours! About 300 of those hours were done in last year (2010). (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight: Jon

March 10, 2011

Let me introduce you all to Jon. Jon has been packing hampers with our program for about the last four months. In the 40 hours he’s volunteered (approximately) he’s seen some of our busier days here, which will help him prepare for the busy days still to come! Either way Jon seems excited for the challenge of packing hampers each week that he’s here. So just before he left after a steady afternoon of packing hampers I sat down with him in our break room to learn more about him: (more…)

It’s Time to Celebrate!

March 10, 2011

It seemed like we were just wrapping up Christmas Hampers when the Potato Blitz hit. Now, it too is over. Friday, February 25, we hosted the Community Potato Lunch at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and officially wrapped up a month of potato frenzy. This event, like all the events in this year’s Blitz, was a roaring success! You helped us raise another $3,100 so that we can purchase another 20,000 lbs of potatoes. This brings our grand total to 183,000 lbs of potatoes, which is 13,000 lbs above the campaign goal! (more…)