Archive for the ‘indigenous peoples’ Category

Volunteer Profile: Marg  

March 4, 2015

Marg has been volunteering with us for four and a half years and contributes in a beautiful way to our hampers team! She has logged 159.79 hours with us which makes her a part of the seasoned chicken club! Way to go Marg!!

Marg and Norm Warren

Marg and Norm, warming up for potato sorting

For hours on end Marg sorts potatoes with her husband to ensure that each family receives a good bag of potatoes. Every Wednesday, Marg helps out above and beyond potatoes.  I have watched Marg pay attention to anyone who walks through these doors and instantly welcome and offer her help to them. I have been inspired countless times by Marg’s, compassionate, kind and positive outlook on life. We are truly blessed here at the hamper program to have such a dedicated and well traveled volunteer.

How would you describe your life so far?

If I were to use some words to sum up my life they would include: A gift, joy, many rewards, experiences of god’s love, opportunities to share god’s love. There is always something new and exciting to discover. I don’t see the negative. I just see an opportunity to turn them around. I see humour in life and I see opportunities to grow from any hard experiences and not get bound into the negative ones.

Can you tell me about how you ended up here at the food hamper program?

I have been on House of Friendship’s board since 1996—that is 19 years! We have a passion for House of Friendship and believe in the mandate to help people realize their potential. We see compassion for people who are hurting. House of Friendship helps them turn it around. I want people to believe they are people of worth. They may not realize that they are indeed worthy. That is why I am here today at hampers.

Why do you volunteer here? Is it important to you?

It is my small way of doing what I believe in. Helping the community I live in. I appreciate the camaraderie here and the feeling of family. So the people draw me here: the staff , volunteers and the patrons. It’s a small way to give back and practise our values. We are in the background but I try to really “see” the people coming in here and let them know that they are seen. It is my way of serving god and showing his love.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

Everything and everyone! The best thing is being able to share this experience with my husband, Norm. That way we can reflect on our experiences and what we learn, together as a couple.

Is there anything you want to share with the community about House of Friendship that you think people may not know?

I don’t think that people really understand or are aware of the scope and impact HOF has on the community and how it impacts the infrastructure of the region especially Kitchener-Waterloo. I believe that the biggest impact is that of a caring hand. House of Friendship strives to see where the needs are and how to respond.

What keeps you busy when you aren’t here?

Well I volunteer for Nutrition for Learning as well as being involved with our church. I teach Sunday school and volunteer on the visitation team, which is a program set up to help elderly with friendship and support. I love quilting and quilt for the MCC relief sale; and I read, exercise and watch sports on TV. Norm and I travel together and also take great delight in spending time with our grandchildren. Family is very important for us.

Do you have any favourite moments or experiences here?

Just the overall feeling of caring that we experience! Norm and I often sort through rotten potatoes. Yucky potatoes don’t get in the way.  I have a need to make things as positive as I can. They don’t need to know what I went through to make their bag of potatoes better. They just need to receive a good bag of potatoes. There’s a lot of yuck in life but it doesn’t get in the way. It is always an opportunity to make it better!

Tell me something about yourself that we may not know!

We have a cottage on the native reserve in Ipperwash on Lake Huron. In solidarity with the native and the horrible oppression they have faced throughout the years. As a result we grow to better understand their customs and ideas and beliefs.  We have made friends up there and look forward to our times up there.

I also ran a girls and boys group while in university in Hamilton in the inner-city four nights a week for youth.

It impacted me with more sensitivity to other people’s circumstances. We need to be at one with all people. See what is like to walk in someone else’s moccasins.

I need to be challenged. Physically, mentally spiritually… I need to do the best that I can. Not better than you, I only compete with one person. Myself.

On my very first day I remember sorting potatoes with Norm and Marg. Marg asked me questions and genuinely cared and at the end of the day gave me a hug and made me feel like a part of the family. Her love shines through in everything she does and makes hampers that much more inclusive and welcoming. I will always remember that feeling of acceptance and sorting through those yucky potatoes, while chatting about travel, the world and our wishes for the future. 

Reflections on Becoming (slightly) More Aware of Aboriginal Culture and Traditions

October 21, 2014

Today, I am pleased to share with you a blog post from Ron, our Residential Services Program Director.


House of Friendship believes strongly in housing as a right

Recently through two opportunities I have become more deeply aware of aboriginal people and culture that we rub shoulders with in our region.

On August 28, 2014 I attended an  Aboriginal Homelessness Prevention Day event sponsored by KW Urban Native Wigwam Project at Kitchener City Hall.

There are several local aboriginal organizations in town that provide a variety of services and supports.  KW Urban Native Wigwam Project, Healing of the Seven Generations, Weejeendimin Native Resource Centre and White Owl Native Ancestry are located at 300 Frederick Street.  Anishnabeg Outreach is located at 151 Frederick Street.  People at any of these organizations are very open to visitors dropping by to become familiar with the services they offer. (more…)

Fried Baloney: a story about food in the north

August 18, 2014

To follow-up on my previous entry about food (in)security in northern Ontario and Labrador, I am sharing some fiction: a short story called fried baloney. (Full disclosure: the author is my dad.)