Posts Tagged ‘amazing volunteers’

Keep Paying It Forward In 2016

January 11, 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! (more…)

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. 

Volunteer profile: Norm

December 30, 2014

Norm has volunteered at the food hamper program for over four years. He is kind and soft spoken, and his faith and his determination to better our community is truly inspirational. Your contributions have been noticed and are appreciated by many. Thank you Norm for all that you do, you are amazing!

Norm and Marg!

Norm and Marg!

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

Some of the best things in our lives over the years have been volunteering. When talking about poverty one day while volunteering I was asked specifically by a 14 year old girl: What are you doing about it? My faith commitment is a major reason why I volunteer and help out in the community. This is very important to me. I feel that we should go beyond our work and go the extra mile for people. (more…)

Where Will You Go, If You Walk With Others In Our Community?

November 28, 2014

“House Of Friendship remains committed to working with our community and walking with our most vulnerable members to ensure we pursue long-term solutions to homelessness, poverty, addictions, and mental health.”

John Neufeld, HOF Executive Director

Welcome to my walk with House of Friendship, my name is Marie Morneau.

My walk started some 13 years ago when my daughter Rosemarie started to volunteer at the Kingsdale Community Centre. Back then we were in portables, not the big beautiful building we have now!

Six years ago my husband Denis and I started to help by volunteering at Kingsdale, on Wednesdays. Denis drives the van to the Food Bank and brings back a load of food to Kingsdale, where we repack it and put it away. On Thursday we take that food and set it up for distribution between 1:30 and 3pm for people residing in the Kingsdale area. (more…)

What do Volunteers, Early Explorers And Food Hampers Have in Common?

November 17, 2014

House of Friendship Volunteers enjoy a recognition dinner and presentation in their honour

It is hard to get the volunteers of the Emergency Food Hamper Program to slow down and take a break. Nonetheless, once a year we manage to convince about 80 or so of them to sit down together long enough to enjoy a meal and to be recognized for the distance that they go for the people of our community. (more…)

What I’ve learned in a year at the Food Hamper Program

May 10, 2013

After almost exactly a year of working here, today is my last day at the Food Hamper Program. I am sad to leave the staff and volunteers here as I’ve formed some great friendships and learned a lot about the KW community, but I’m looking forward to new adventures, including travelling this summer and going back to school in September.


I’ve learned a lot in the year that I’ve been here. Here are some things I’ll take away from my time.

There is no one kind of person who needs food assistance

I’ve learned that there is no one kind of person that comes to a food bank—there is a huge diversity of people who need food assistance, and they have taken many paths to get here. Many people face barriers to finding work and thus having an adequate income due to discrimination. Perhaps they identify as transgender, are a recent immigrant or refugee, or have a disability. I’ve learned that no one is on social assistance because they’re simply ‘lazy,’ but that there are a multitude of reasons people live in poverty, ranging from the kinds of jobs available to a lack of affordable childcare to health problems. Each person has their own story of why they are at the food hamper program.

The way we treat people living on low income needs to change…now.

I’ve learned that the way social assistance is set up helps no one, and a dollar added to social assistance is more than a dollar saved in other areas. I’ve learned that poverty and health are so closely intertwined that I’m not sure you can talk about one without talking about the other.  Most importantly to me, I’ve learned that eliminating poverty is the logical thing to do, not only from an ethical but from an economic standpoint. It makes far more sense to give people an adequate income and save money elsewhere in the system, especially in the health care and justice sectors. I have hope that others think this way. Though there is a long road ahead when it comes to poverty elimination, there are a lot of dedicated people making very good cases as to why poverty should be a priority for all levels of government moving forward.

I’ve learned all about foods I never knew existed

We receive all kinds of food donations. Before working here I had never seen chayote squash, bitter melon, chinese long beans, or lychee fruit. Now I could tell you what their main nutritional qualities are and how to cook them!

I am disappointed to leave the House of Friendship because it’s an organization I believe in. I’m proud of that the organization has decided to speak up on important issues, and advocate for a more just society. I decided to work here in the first place because, though I don’t believe food aid should have to exist, the program’s philosophy was in line with my own. I believe people coming in for food aid should not be policed, or asked invasive questions about their household finances. I’ve been lucky to be able to visit other House of Friendship programs and learn about the community building and advocacy that goes on at our community centres and residential programs as well.

I’ve been so privileged in the past year to work with dedicated staff and volunteers who believe in the program like I do, and who are working every day to create the kind of community they want to be a part of. I’ll miss it here.

Celebrating 12 Days of good deeds

December 21, 2012

12 Days

Today is the last day of our 12 Days for Good campaign, and though I am sad to see it go, I’ve been so inspired by all the amazing stories I’ve heard from people who are paying it forward. Today as we celebrate the good deeds done in Waterloo Region, here are some of the highlights of the past week and a half.

To start off, word from the Christmas Hampers Warehouse is that over 4,240 hampers have been delivered to homes in Waterloo Region. This has been our busiest year yet, and it would not have been possible without all the help we got from amazing volunteers during the past 12 days. What a success!

We’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to speak to media outlets about 12 Days for Good. John Neufeld, Jane Barkley, and Natalie Brown were on Talk Local Waterloo Region discussing the impact of 12 Days and how they’ve been involved. Check out the video here.


The Power of 12

December 10, 2012
Volunteers swing into action and put together the first of several thousand Christmas Hampers

Volunteers swing into action and put together the first of several thousand Christmas Hampers

Last Friday, volunteers in north Waterloo were busy.  They came together, many of them only seeing each other at this time of year, and got to business assembling boxes of food for people they will never meet.  Christmas Hampers officially got into gear.

Inspired by these volunteers and the hundreds who will follow them each day until the 25th, House of Friendship invites YOU to get involved in our community to the power of 12.

Welcome to 12 Days.

The idea is simple: do something, anything, in the next twelve days to help someone else.  These can be 12 big things, 12 little things or even just one thing. We`re not asking you to join in on what House of Friendship is doing (although you are very welcome to) we simply want to share the enthusiasm and drive that we see around us and encourage others to make a positive change.

This year, since it is a traditional time of gift giving, we are organizing our own efforts around 12 different “gifts”:  the gift of Justice and Equality, Food, Home, Community, Health, Joy, Knowledge, Friendship, Warmth, Diversity, Hope, and finally, Celebrating the Good!

Each day we will share some tips, suggestions, stories and inspiration that you can use to share that gift with our community.

Follow #12daysforgood on twitter, on Facebook and come back here for daily updates.

Day 1: How do you wrap the Gift of Justice?

In my University days, I found myself sitting with some co-workers for lunch, enjoying the nice summer weather.  We were doing door-to-door sales at the time and the spirit of the work place was making money and self reliance.  You were responsible for your success or failure.  Every day, before hitting the streets, it was drilled into us: keep pushing, stay confident, work hard and you will do it.

As we dug into our lunches, the conversation turned to a homeless man we had interacted with earlier before starting work. One of my co-workers observed “If I was on the street, I would never stop, I would clean myself up, get a job and get off the street in a few days.”

If only life was that simple. (more…)

Our volunteers go the distance

October 15, 2012

One of the single most rewarding parts of being at the House of Friendship is working beside the hundreds of amazing volunteers who come to help us and others each and every day of the year.  At the beginning of September we took a moment to relax and celebrate their achievements in style thanks to Knox Presbyterian Church who opened their space to us and let us set up some BBQ’s to grill some tasty food.

We couldn’t have done it without Boston Pizza, Canadian Tire, The Cake Box, Future Shop, Galaxy Cinemas, Max’s Golf, the Perimeter Institute, Princess Cafe, Starbucks, The Museum, Walmart, Waterloo Region Museum, Whole-lota Gelata, and CIBC who all generously gave their own thanks for the work our volunteers do by donating raffle prizes. (more…)

A hamper is worth a thousand words

April 20, 2012

For us to try and explain in words all of the wonderful things that the volunteers at the Emergency Food Hamper Program do would be difficult.  Instead, we have compiled a set of pictures, both new and not-so new, of our volunteers in action!  The pictures will walk you through a typical day at 807 Guelph Street.

Let start with the morning.  Typically volunteers arrive any time after 8am ready to get to work.  The morning crew work together to sort, stock and bag large quantities of food that has been donated to our program.

Once the shelves have been stocked and the quotas set, we open the doors to the public.  At this time, we also welcome our hamper packers who will pack and distribute a large quantity of food to those are in need of food assistance.

While there is always work to be done at the Emergency Food Hamper Program, there is always time for FUN!

So this wraps up a day at the Emergency Food Hamper Program.  As you can see there is a lot of work that is done within the walls of 807 Guelph Street, but there is a lot of laughs shared amongst staff and volunteers to keep the spirits high!