Volunteer Profile: Pauline!

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Pauline started volunteering at the Food Hamper Program last October. Since that chilly afternoon she has become our on-call superstar, regularly coming in to help on short notice, despite being in school; and volunteering over 190 hours in the process! Pauline is obviously committed to our program: she goes to great lengths to get here, and when she’s here does whatever needs doing with a smile and a laugh.

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I convinced her to sit down (and take a break—no small feat!) to chat about her time here…

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

My first trip to the Food Hamper Program was to pick up a food hamper. I also knew of some other people who had used the program and then applied to see if I could start volunteering here.

Is volunteering important to you? Why?

Yes! And for lots of reasons. By volunteering here I am directly giving back to this community, which has at different times supported me, and that feels good. I wanted to make a contribution like this to the community.

At the same, volunteering has impacted my life in important ways. When I started here I was in a depressive state, but program staff and other volunteers welcomed me, and as I’ve settled into this space I’ve increasingly felt valued, and been a valuable part of this program.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

The people, and being part of something that supports others. Like I said, staff and other volunteers welcomed me so warmly, and sincerely, that I’m always eager to return. I also really like connecting with folks who are here for a hamper, and trying to meet their specific needs, especially when they have kids. I try, when I can, to pack the best hamper for each family, and you’d be amazed how a bit of special attention can go such a long way. A few smiles stick out in my memory, reminders of the value of small acts of kindness and consideration.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

All of them! I spend lots of time packing hampers, but that is really just a small part of what goes on here—the last, most visible step in a much larger project. That being the case I’m happy to sort food, clean, or get in Raymond’s way—to make him smile, of course! Whatever the day requires.

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

I’ve helped out with my kids’s sports teams and with the Optimist and Lions clubs of Kitchener and Stratford, but this is my first regular volunteer experience.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

Many of my waking hours are spent at the arenas of southern Ontario with my daughter’s ringette team. Or reading, playing baseball, swimming and biking. I like to keep busy!

In closing, Pauline re-stated her commitment to, and affection for the Hamper Program. As she put it, “I’ve so obviously loved coming here that it’s convinced some of my friends to join me!” Her infectious enthusiasm brings joy and humour to the Food Hamper program—which is great, because we’ve packed over 25,000 hampers since Pauline started volunteering here!

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