Celebrating Our Volunteers Some More

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Wednesday, April 27th was an important evening, not just because the Montreal Canadiens were playing. With National Volunteer Week just behind us, we hosted our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Glencairn Mennonite Brethren Church. Susan Pries prepared a delicious feast and we celebrated, once again, the many volunteers who contribute so much time and energy to all the programs within our agency.

Our blog features many of the volunteers who make up the Emergency Food Hamper Program. But consider this: House of Friendship consists of 18 different programs. Each of those programs utilizes the power of volunteers who, like the people you’ve met on our blog, have their own stories, gifts and motivations. At the volunteer banquet, we attempt to bring all those individuals together in order to acknowledge their unique contributions and give voice to their collective strength.

Between the 400 people who volunteer regularly during the year, and the 600 people who contribute their time during Christmas, House of Friendship hosts  approximately 1000 volunteers every year. That amounts to 50,000 hours of service and is the equivalent of 25 full-time positions!

It is clear that volunteers have a huge impact on the services we are able to provide. Often however, the uniqueness of these people is overshadowed by our focus on the difference they make as a whole. This year for the first time, three volunteers spoke about their specific journeys toward and within one of House of Friendship’s programs.

Janet spoke to the audience of almost 150 other volunteers about how she ended up at Sunnydale Community Centre, acting as an additional support for community members who use the facility and its services.

Annette told about her experience as a volunteer at Alcontrol, and specifically how she shares the practice of Reiki to promote healing and recovery.

"Christmas Hampers in November, the golf tournament in July and Food Hampers somewhere in the middle." Always animated, Doug Sullivan shared his volunteer schedule, and a few jokes, with the crowd.

The other way we attempt to honour our individual volunteers is by recognizing their ongoing dedication. We acknowledge those who have committed five, ten, fifteen and even twenty-five years of service to our organization. This year, 12 people received certificates for 5 years of service, 6 people for 10 years and 7 people for 15 years. Trevor (who could  not attend) was recognized for the 25 years he has been involved as a volunteer for Christmas Hampers.

One of three Johns who volunteer with Sunnydale's food distribution program recieved a five-year certificate.

Pamela, a volunteer at Kingsdale Community Centre, received a 10 year certificate!

Martin, a Food Hampers volunteer, recieved a 10 year certificate.

Another John from Sunnydale received his 10 year award, while program supervisor, Linda, spoke about his contributions during this time.

Paul, another Food Hampers volunteer who bags many of our potatoes, recieved a certificate for 15 years of service.

With the food eaten and the certificates awarded, we said thank-you for a final time. Thank-you foremost to our volunteers. Thank-you Glencairn Church and thank-you Susan for the food! With that said, there was nothing left to do but let Tony, and every other Canadiens’ fan, get home to watch the end of the game.

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