Keep Paying It Forward In 2016


Happy New Year everyone!

Now that the Holiday Season is behind us and everyone seems to be getting back into their usual weekly routines I wanted to share some words from some of our Emergency Food Hamper Program Volunteers, as a way to offer some encouragement to those of you who have decided that 2016 will be the year of getting involved in your community!

Why Volunteer?

Maybe you followed our #12daysforgood campaign and saw something in the daily themes that resonated with you, perhaps you have made a New Year’s resolution to do something and volunteer because you are grateful for support you have received at some point in your life.  There are a million different reasons, but one fact remains: volunteering has many benefits, not just for others, but also for yourself!

How To Get Started

There are many great places to start, perhaps one the best being the Volunteer Action Centre which can help you find a place to help in one of the 150 different organizations that they work with.  What about your friends?  Do any of them volunteer?  Ask them if they know of a good place to help, or if they have helped out somewhere in the past what they enjoyed about it.

What about those million reasons to volunteer I just mentioned?  I doubt you have time to go through a list that long, so I pulled a few choice quotes from the many profiles of our volunteers to highlight some of many reasons helping others is worthwhile.

Volunteers Make a Difference

When you volunteer you have many opportunities to help others directly and in really tangible ways.  If you like interacting with people it’s a great opportunity to see the benefit of what you’re doing on people’s faces.

Laura Allan photo

Laura shared:

“When a child will come in and there is something in particular they want or if it’s their birthday and you are able to find that cake in the back or that special treat for them. Or I will say to some little kid, “you know I found some really cool granola bars and they are like “Whoa! Thanks!”  They get so happy and for us it’s wonderful to be able to do that for them. One time there was a bicycle outside and the staff here were able to give it to this kid – it was just unbelievable.  They just appreciate it and are so sweet about it. Some of them are so cute.  The kids are the coolest part – I love it, and hope for those moments.

Luke shared this about what he enjoys about working here:DSC_0228

“I appreciate being able to work with patrons–to take into account their allergies or food restrictions, or maybe they need a birthday cake for their toddler–to make their experience as positive as possible.”

Volunteers Remember

Being involved with organizations that rely on volunteers is also a way to recognize the ways others have helped you in the past.  No one person is an island and remembering and honouring those who were there for you can be a powerful reason to help.

TawnIMG_0666 had this to say about the value of spending her time volunteering:

“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. 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.

Volunteers Connect

It’s not every day that you are able to help people.  Volunteers are there every day offering some support through difficult times.  If you are someone who values working with people one on one, then there are many great places and ways to use your time for good.

Long time volunteer Betty had this to share when we interviewed her:Betty

“It really affects me if it’s someone’s first hamper—I’ve had experiences with men and women where they cry when they come in. It really touches me. I usually give them a hug and try to give some words of encouragement.”






Mike had this to say when asked what he enjoyed about volunteering:Mike B

“Personally I enjoy interacting with patrons when I’m packing a food hamper for them. Everyone has such an interesting story and come from so many different backgrounds. It’s helped open my eyes to the poverty situation more.”






Volunteers Get Things Done

And on the other side of things, if you simply take joy in crossing tasks off of lists and getting down to business there are a lot of opportunities to make use of  your many talents.

Dean S.

Dean wanted to make this point when asked about his experience volunteering in the warehouse:

“I feel like I am making a difference in my own way.  At the food hamper program, you can really see that you are accomplishing something.

The food comes in and we are able to sort through it and put together many hampers for people in need in our community.  I like being a part of such a great program like this.”

DevinDevin made this point about his time at the Food Hamper Program:

“Volunteering is a way for me to get out and about.   It helps make the days go by faster.  Volunteering really gets me working hard, and I think that’s a good thing.”




OscarAnd Oscar a very prolific volunteer, summed it up nicely with these words:

“I just like coming in here to help others however I can – it’s what I’m here for!”






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