Author Archive

See you later…

August 25, 2010


This summer has really moved along quickly, and it’s not really registering that the new adventure that I am about to embark on is almost here.  Eeeek!  With my work life winding down,  I’m feeling  mixed about my departure…You see, my coworkers and volunteers have been my work family for over 2.5 years. My daily rituals will no longer be familiar ground. I won’t be asked if I am “okie dokie”;  there won’t be the unspoken race to answer the phone on the first ring among us intake workers, (I never seem to win), and i won’t be calling out “hamper-rama” to the hamper packers.

My time as an intake worker has provided me with continuous learning, it has given me many skills that I can tuck in my pocket and bring along with me to school. Whether learning about various  eating habits from different cultures, to working daily with the many faces of our community who deal with the never-ending cycle of food insecurity.  I value each experience I’ve had, since it has brought me to where I am today.

I am grateful to everyone I’ve encountered at Food Hampers… for welcoming me with open arms, and for extending their friendship along the way.  I’m not really saying good-bye, it’s more of a see you later…

Volunteer Spotlight – Daniel Kramer

August 16, 2010

Daniel is someone that takes the time to get to know the other volunteers and patrons. When he comes in to volunteer once a week, his enthusiam and willingness to help others never seems to waiver, which is awesome! Not to mention that he’s fun to work with. Daniel is a long time member of the community, and he has been involved in different capacities with House of Friendship over the years. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight- Erika Brandt

August 3, 2010

I’ve worked with Erika for the past two and a half years, and I’m constantly amazed at her dedication to both our program and the entire House of Friendship organization. She has been able to take time from her busy work and school schedule to volunteer here once a week. Over the years, Erika has given an impressive 609 hours to packing hampers and  packaging food. Here’s a little more about this awesome volunteer! (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight – Verna Keller

July 27, 2010

Verna is no stranger to volunteering. Before she started to volunteer with our program, Verna volunteered with the now defunct Theatre & Company in Kitchener. She worked there with one of our past volunteers, Pat Pollard, who sadly passed away in January 2009. Luckily, Pat told Verna about our program, and we’ve had Verna on board with us ever since!

Why is volunteering important to you?

“It’s a very good way to learn new skills,  meet people, and to get to know your community.”

You mentioned that you have done a lot of volunteering over the years and continue to do so now… How do you fit in the time to volunteer for our program and other programs?

“I do what I feel is important.  Volunteering and meeting new people energizes me, so I continue to seek out new opportunities.”

How has volunteering  made an impact in your life?

It provides variety… I’ve learned about different diets. Also it made me realize that no matter how bad of a day you think you’re having, there are others experiencing worse.”

What are your interests/hobbies when you are not working?

“I enjoy special event planning and gardening.”

What are you growing this year?

Berries and flowers.”

Any plans for the summer?

“No plans, but I’m always planning something.”

Four years and 825 volunteer hours later, Verna continues to come once a week to pack hampers. We look forward to Verna’s shift;  she will keep you in stitches with her jokes, plus her laugh infects the warehouse with fun! Lastly, her thoughtfulness stands out, as she always ensures that our clients get what they need in their food hampers… Thanks Verna!


Volunteer Spotlight – Mark Bucholtz

June 29, 2010

Working Monday to Friday, many professionals have a difficult time finding extra time in their schedule to give time to another organization. However, Mark has been able to commit 2 days a week to volunteer with our program. He delivers hampers mainly to patrons who have mobility and health issues. He has been giving his time and kilometres for 7-8 years. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight – Rupert “Rubarb” Anderson

June 23, 2010

Another long time volunteer comes in regularly, and starts the day with his chipper greeting in the warehouse, “Morning everybody!”.  The expected repsonse is, “Morning Rupert!” If there isn’t a response, we will be greeted  again until we answer. This ritual is part of our daily culture, and it wouldn’t be the same around here if we didn’t have Rupert’s greeting to look forward to. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight – Pearl

June 15, 2010

Last week, I got the chance to speak with Pearl while she was working in the warehouse. You can rely on her to get the task done, for example, packaging our rice. She is very organized, and she does an outstanding  job getting this important staple ready for our patrons. It’s something she takes pride in doing when she comes in to volunteer twice a week.  You can also find her tidying the clothing donations when she’s here. She gets along well with everyone, and she makes you feel welcome.  Pearl is always cheery, I usually see her smiling and joking when she’s in the warehouse. Anton, one of our drivers,  needs to watch out when he pulls Pearl’s apron strings though… She can be a little mischievous, in a fun playful way. Here’s a little bit more about our wonderful Pearl… (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight – Lori McDonough

June 8, 2010

At the end of April, this volunteer’s confidence was impressive. Lori had her volunteer orientation.  Usually after the orientation, our volunteers come back on another day for their first full shift. However, Lori stayed, was trained on how to pack a food box  then  packed emergency food hampers for the rest of her shift. This is rare occurence, but none the less, amazing to see! She appeared to feel at home immediately. If we are short on volunteers Lori has come in, on a moment’s notice.  She is super hard working, easy going, and we are grateful to have her on our team. It’s hard to believe Lori’s only been here a month. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight – Dorian

June 2, 2010

When Dorian volunteers, she is hard to keep up with. She is always on the move! Once a week she voluteers and packs emergency food hampers of food for our patrons. If she’s not packing hampers, you will find her working on another task in the warehouse. Dorian moved to Canada 3 years ago with her family. She has been with us for 2.5 years. Dorian is originally from Colombia.  In my best attempt, I am going to use  my very rusty Spanish  to translate Dorian’s story from Spanish to English. Therefore, this will be in both languages.  As well, I must thank my coworker Salvador, who has been kind enough to edit my Spanish. (more…)

Volunteer Spotlight – Connie Becker

May 25, 2010

Twice a week, right before we open, the staff is greeted cheerfully by this volunteer, whose enthusiasm sets the tone for the day. Connie is the name and packing hampers is her game. Okay, okay, I will try not to be so funny…

Connie has been packing hampers with our program for five years. Give or take some time off, Connie has probably packed closed to 40 000 hampers. She works extremely hard when she is here, and ensures that each hamper she packs for the families & individuals, are packed with care.  Here are the interview questions that Connie answered, which I am honoured to share with you.

What made you decide to volunteer with the Emergency Food Hamper Program?

“I was on kidney dialysis and I wasn’t able to work, but I still felt the need to do something with myself that didn’t require full-time hours… And I just happened to be here one day with my friend, and saw the pin up for volunteers needed. So this gave me the chance to do something with myself and help where help was needed.”

Why is volunteering important to you?

“I have needed help from the Food Bank many times, and this gives me the chance to give back, even if it’s just in the smallest of ways by giving my time… And because it makes me feel like I’m doing something good and worthwhile with my time. It’s a real eye opener as to how many families live in or below poverty in our city.”

How has volunteering with us made and impact in your life?

“It sure makes you grateful for the things you have, because there are a lot of people out there that have less or nothing at all.”

What are some of your hobbies and interests, when you aren’t volunteering of course?

“I like to walk when I can, swimming is something I really enjoy, or a nice quiet walk with my dog up north. Most of all spending time with my grandchildren.”

Learning a little more about Connie has confirmed what I have know about her from working with her the past couple of years… Her strength is inspiring. I can be certain that when she is in, there will be plenty of giggles and a good amount of silliness. Plus the people she serves food hampers to will go home knowing that she took the time to make sure they are going home with enough food.