Author Archive

Volunteer Spotlight: Geoff

March 27, 2013
Geoff hard at work packing hampers.

Geoff hard at work packing hampers.

Geoff is a student at Conestoga College in the Police Foundations program and has been volunteering for over a year. He’s a positive guy who chats with everyone who comes in, and is reliably here every Tuesday at 11 am. He rarely misses a week even though he’s a student, has a job, and volunteers with other organizations. I don’t know how he finds the time to come in, but we’re sure glad he does!

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I heard about the program through KW Volunteering.com

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy working with the nice people here at EFHP and meeting the clients that we serve. I enjoy the satisfaction of making a measurable difference.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I enjoy packing hampers because it gives me an opportunity to speak with our clients and get to know them.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has helped me better understand people that exist outside my own circle of friends. It makes it easier to communicate with people I don’t know or don’t know very well.

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

I volunteer at R.O.O.F. Drop-in and Operation Come Home

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

I enjoy drumming.

Thanks Geoff for taking this time to answer our questions. We really appreciate the work you do packing hampers, finding the time in your busy schedule.  

Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah K.

March 6, 2013

 

Two great volunteers! Holly (left) and Sarah (right).

Two great volunteers! Holly (left) and Sarah (right).

 

Sarah K. has been volunteering here since February 2012, and was a summer student this year at the front desk. She’s a great person to have around because she’s always calm and considerate with people who come in. It was great to get to know her this summer, and we’re thankful she’s staying on to volunteer, even as a university student with a busy schedule. Other facts about Sarah are that she’s currently studying Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University, plays the cello, and is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

How did you hear about the House of Friendship?

I heard about House of Friendship from a friend of mine while I was looking for a job a few years back. Then I had the opportunity to do a student placement at the Emergency Food Hamper Program (EFHP) and I jumped at the chance.

What do you enjoy about volunteering here?

I enjoy the family atmosphere At the Emergency Food hamper program. At the EFHP, I can be myself and serve other people in the process.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I really love the variety of people I can help and work with. I especially love packing hampers because it is concrete and simple, yet very satisfying and personal.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has allowed me to have some time in the week that is for me, as well as for others. I come to volunteer because I love doing it.

Are there any other places you have volunteered?

I volunteered in a classroom at Lutherwood on Benjamin Road for a term.

What hobbies and interests do you enjoy in your spare time?

When I am not volunteering I am studying Music Therapy and playing cello. I try my best to fit in a little painting, sewing, or baking whenever I can.

Thanks Sarah for sharing with us and we’re so happy that you choose to spend your time so generously with us. You are such a positive person to have at the Emergency Food Hamper Program!

Volunteer Spotlight: Iris

February 13, 2013

Iris photo

Iris is a Bachelor of Social Work placement student along with Rana and is here to the end of June. I took a quick opportunity to chat with her and find out more about someone who is going to be here for a while. She and her husband have been in the K-W area for over two years now and are from Fergus and Hamilton respectively. She’s willing to do anything we throw her way, from learning intake, to packing hampers, to other warehouse jobs. She and Rana are both doing the ten month Bachelor of Social work through the University of Waterloo. She has been a quick study and is picking up a lot!

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I found out about the House of Friendship through the University of Waterloo placement fair. The House of Friendship was one of two placements I was offered and I chose the House of Friendship because of the variety of services offered and how long it has been around for. It’s pretty amazing that the House of Friendship has been around since 1939.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy meeting all the volunteers and staff members. This has been a great place to learn about the face of poverty in Waterloo region.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I really enjoy doing intake and finding out about the needs of the program participants. I like learning about the need for Emergency food services.

 How has volunteering impacted your life?

It affected about my perceptions of need. I didn’t realize how much need there was in the community. It really made me appreciate what supports I have.

Are there any other programs that your or have volunteered with?

I’m at the Kingsdale community centre. I also work in the food distribution program there, participate in groups and am involved in community outreach as well.

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

I enjoy watching movies, especially documentaries. Right now I’m watching Being Elmo. I also cycle and go cross country skiing in the winter. I love to travel and experience new cultures.

Thanks so much Iris for taking a moment out of busy schedule to chat with me. It was really nice to find out more about you, since you’re here every Wednesday. We really appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the Emergency Food Hamper Program. We also appreciate your willingness to learn and get your hands dirty.

Volunteer Spotlight: Rana

January 30, 2013

Rana picturesRana is one of our two Bachelor of Social Work placement students here at the Emergency Food Hamper Program, along with Iris. She is here on Fridays and the rest of the time she is at Courtland-Shelley community centre. Since both she and Iris are here until June, I decided that it would be a good opportunity to get to know her better. She is originally a nutritionist from Lebanon and decided to make a career change once her kids were more grown up. She is catching on fast and is clearly passionate about the work we do here.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I found out about the House of Friendship through the University of Waterloo Placement Fair. The placement fair is where all the BSW students and the MSW students find placements for the year. I met Michael (the chaplain) at the fair and he explained the programs and then I chose the House of Friendship to do my placement.

What do you enjoy about your placement at the EFHP?

I enjoy working with the staff because they are friendly and approachable. I like learning about the process here and helping people that come to the program. It’s good to see the face of poverty and those that are affected. The environment really encourages learning and personal growth.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I enjoy doing intake and packing hampers. I like packing hampers and making choices that will help them. I like to customize the hampers for each individual household. I like doing intake and learning about why they use the program and what brought them here.

How has placement impacted your life?

I have started to appreciate that I take for granted like food, and health. It has given me more in depth understanding about the connection between health and food security and the impact of food security on people’s life. I learned that poverty gives someone a real lack of control over their life.

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

I used to volunteer at Strong Start in Laurel wood Public School which is a reading program for kindergarten and grade 1. I also volunteered at a senior’s home and I entertained the residents by walking and chatting with them. I also took them places like the mall.

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

I like to relax by watching TV, going for walks and travelling. My favourite place is Florence Italy and my family goes back to Lebanon every summer. I also like to read and watch documentaries.

Thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy schedule to let us get to know you. It’s great to learn about someone who will play a big role in the organization over the next nine months. We also appreciate your willingness to learn and to get started right away. Thanks so much Rana!

Friendship, the gift to give on day 8 of 12 Days for Good

December 17, 2012

One of the hardest things about getting older is the lack of social opportunities as your mobility, vision and hearing decreases. It becomes harder to get around and sometimes, in poor weather you are stuck at home because you can’t manage slippery stairs or icy sidewalks.

“I broke my leg, and then my toe” an elderly food hamper patron told me on the phone the other day, “all from when I slipped in the snow. Last week, I had to cancel all of my appointments because it snowed and I was too afraid – I don’t want to go through all of that again.”

In my own life, my grandpa is in his late seventies and struggles with the changes to his life that come with age. Because of his health he found himself unable to go out in public, things that he had previously enjoyed doing, like camping and canoeing, had to end. He can turn to family like myself and my father, through ill health and stress, both of which play havoc with his memory and make it harder for him to manage things like his finances and get to vital appointments.  Not everyone is like my grandpa though.  They may not have any family left, and struggle with social isolation.

Want to know how you can help? (more…)

Give the Gift of Joy in the middle of 12 Days for Good

December 15, 2012

Giving and receiving gifts is a very important part of many cultures.  They can re-affirm bonds of love and affection, connect communities and demonstrate respect and gratitude.  For many cultures, birthdays are very important.  In other cultures birthdays pass without any importance.  In December, many people celebrate Christmas.  For some, the spiritual implications are the most important. These people lament the commercialization of Christmas and believe that all of the spirit has gone out of it. They believe that Christmas should be about family and giving back to those less fortunate.

For others, spending time and money at the malls is the most important part.  For many of us, what’s important falls somewhere between those two extremes and can change over time.  As you get older, for example, you may come to appreciate the time spent with children and grandchildren.  You may ask yourself, “what more do I need?” (more…)