Posts Tagged ‘amazing’

12days of Pitching In

December 21, 2011

It has been an extraordinary 12 days of giving and sharing in Kitchener Waterloo.  Over six hundred volunteers have helped the House of Friendship these last few weeks to move a record number of Christmas Hampers out into the community and into people’s cupboards.

Who are these people? Schools, individuals, businesses, friends and coworkers have collected food, packed it up and driven it out to people.  Others have endured the elements to hand out more than 3000 turkeys and ensure that people have something to share with friends and family as they sit down together this weekend to celebrate each other and to look forward to the coming year.

On this blog we have shared some inspiration, ideas and suggestions on how you can do something big or small to make this region a little nicer for everyone.  We hope that you were moved to action and we would love to hear how it went for you.  Haven’t taken the plunge into volunteering yet?  Why not make it your new years resolution to get out there and volunteer?  There are lots of great places to help you get started.

What good is there in volunteering and the collective efforts of these hundreds of people who have given some, or in some cases, all of their time these last few weeks in the service of others?

Our Executive Director, John, asked these same questions recently.  He shared with us these words:

“We have now finished delivering 4081 “little gifts” in the form of Christmas Hampers.  Delivering these gifts this past week has been an eye-opening experience for me, bringing home the importance of people having appropriate housing, being part of community, accessing addition treatment, and being nourished with food and more.  At the end of the deliveries, I came home with many more questions, and very few answers. What good will this one Christmas Hamper do? What do my efforts matter? Individual efforts can at times seem so futile but when I think about all of our individual efforts combined, I feel hope!”

“My hope is rekindled each time I attend one of our program’s Christmas celebrations.  What a gift to see the transformation of individuals as a result of safe and affordable housing, recovery, life skills training, community building, support with parenting, and a listening ear. So many great stories! Stories that we share with our community to inspire and challenge them to Pitch In and make a difference so that hope can always be present in our community.”

Each day at the many programs of the House of Friendship and the countless non-profit groups that work with people in need, volunteers and hope transform people’s lives.  By sharing tangible goods like food and clothing, or intangible things like a listening year, a caring word and positive attitude you can make a real difference to someone.

Yesterday I spoke with Oscar, who called to update me on his efforts to deliver at least 100 Christmas Hampers.  The last time I had spoken with him, he was already at 125 hampers.  Yesterday he told me he had just finished his 151st delivery.  In response to my words of amazement and congratulation he shared with me “I just program my GPS and drive around and drop them off.  It’s something I really enjoy doing, and when you see how happy people are to receive it, it makes it all worth it.”

If you volunteer, thank you!  Let us know what makes it worthwhile for you on twitter, facebook or the comment space below.  If you’re thinking of volunteering in 2012, what do you hope to get out of it?  As we hope you have seen this last 12 days, it’s easy and it makes a world of difference to everyone in our community.

100 hampers with Oscar and 12 days of pitching in!

December 10, 2011

Today is the first of 12days!  12days of delivering Christmas Hampers and handing out turkeys to families in need.   Oscar is one of the people who will be delivering Christmas Hampers.   He and the 600 other people who will pitch in are incredible people with incredible stories.  More than a few have been with us for 25 years and others take time off work to help out over the month of December.

If you’re looking at this on Saturday, Oscar will be busy delivering hampers as you read this sentence.  When I spoke with him earlier at House of Friendship’s Emergency Food Hamper warehouse, he talked about his very ambitious goal of delivering 100 Christmas Hampers in the next 7 days. Last Friday he was getting an early start and heading to HOF’s Christmas Hamper Warehouse for his first load.  Saturday, he was hoping to delivery 25 before the end of the day. He is a man with a plan!

In the first three years Oscar estimates that he delivered approximately 70 hampers each year. Last year he made a goal to beat that number – and he did that by delivering about 90 hampers! However, this year Oscar is taking his personal challenge one step further with the hope to deliver over 100 hampers! That’s a lot of routes for long time volunteer Trevor to coordinate, but Oscar will do all of these with a smile!

Volunteering with Christmas Hampers is a lot of fun for Oscar, because he’s usually joined by groups of friends or his wife. But it’s not all about spending time with friends; Oscar values volunteering with Christmas Hampers more than that: “Helping out gives me a chance to deliver food that people wouldn’t otherwise have for the Holidays. It’s almost as if you’re bringing them a Christmas present.”

People are genuinely appreciative when someone delivers a Christmas hamper, similar to what you may see here at our program. But everyone reacts differently; sometimes people invite you in for coffee and others barely want to open the door. And sometimes you almost get a parking ticket for your vehicle hanging over the sidewalk when it’s snowing late at night and you’re struggling to make sure you have the right address.

In the end you never know what to expect when you’re out delivering Christmas hampers, but all the smiles in the end are what keep Oscar volunteering year after year. Thank you for your support – it would definitely be hard to do all these hampers without your hard work!

Now that you know how Oscar is pitching in for 12days, let us know how you are pitching in.  Send us your stories and comments – help us spread the word: PitchIn for 12days!  You can also follow us on Twitter and find out more about 12days! on our Facebook Page, YouTube channel and web site.