Archive for September, 2015

Everything You Touch Touches You: Tawn’s Volunteer Profile

September 1, 2015

[Khadija, Summer Special Projects Assistant at House of Friendship’s Emergency Food Hamper Program, wrote the following profile.]

Sitting down with Tawn to profile her for our blog, we immediately hit it off! Super warm and personable, she is a joy to chat with. She is authentically herself and exudes kindness. Tawn joined the volunteer team at EFPH in January 2014 and has since contributed 116 hours. Considering how busy she is with other commitments its incredible how much she is here to help us out. You rock Tawn!


Can you tell me about how you ended up here at the food hamper program? Why do you volunteer here? Is it important to you?

I want to give back to the community. I remember in my family’s first year in Canada, I was six, and we lived in government housing on Park Street. Our very first Christmas someone rang the doorbell and gave us a giant box of food and I remember our mother thinking, “Our savior,” and my dad being so happy because we actually had food for Christmas. And I thought to myself: when I grow up I’m going be that guy that delivers food to people. That’s why I wanted to volunteer here.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy meeting new people alongside working with the regulars. I feel I am doing something good – creating good karma.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I definitely do like packing the hampers the most – it’s like grocery shopping. I like interacting with the people that come here to get the food.

Is there anything you want to share with the community about House of Friendship? (Good or bad!)

What a lot of people don’t see or realize is that a lot of thought goes into what we give out to the people who come here for food. We try to balance out their diet; we try to give as much fresh food as possible. We are very accommodating, for example, if you have a gluten allergy everyone knows about it. When you think of going to a food hamper program you assume it’s probably going to be just junk or prepackaged foods handed out but that’s not true here. A lot of the stuff that they give out here has a lot of nutritional value to it. We are so blessed because we get farmers or people who grow things and donate it, which is awesome. And we also have treats once in a while where we get delicious organic foods or really good meats. It’s such a wonderful program that you would think your choices are limited but they’re not when you come here. They really do the best that they possibly can to make it so that you’re eating really good nutritious food.

What keeps you busy when you aren’t here? Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I volunteer at the Buddhist temple, I have two jobs – doing real estate and working for a start-up –  and I help take care of my two nephews who are five and three. All my spare time is spent with them and teaching them. If I could teach my nephews one thing it would be to value women. It’s really important to me. My brother and sister-in-law work ridiculous hours so I try to fill in whenever they’re not free.

Do you have any favourite moments or experiences here?

Every day is a totally different new learning experience. There was a volunteer here, his name was Mike and he was very sweet. I got to know him, we used to take our breaks and do hampers together. He was a very nice guy. I didn’t even know that he was sick and I hadn’t seen him since January. All of a sudden a few months ago I was working and I noticed that all the volunteers were so sad. I asked what was going on and then they pointed to his obituary that was posted in the paper. He had passed away from cancer. I was so devastated so I went to his wake and I met his family.

One of my favourite sayings is from a movie I just saw: everything you touch touches you. I feel like when you’re here you are with people who are like minded and want to give back. When you’re surrounded with people like that you absorb that as well and it makes you a better person. I definitely feel like meeting Mike has made my life better.

There are many reasons why I admire Tawn, including her willingness to make time for her family and community despite her busy schedule; her insistence on doing good for others in order to create a positive flow of energy; and how easy she is to talk to! Furthermore, her outlook on life and people is quite intriguing – she is all about deeply connecting with others, and living in the here and now. Add all of that up, and you can easily see how much she contributes here, how much of this community has her fingerprints upon it, and why we so enjoy coming to work on Tuesdays!