Posts Tagged ‘House of Friendship’

Good Deeds with Carlos

December 19, 2011

Is is easy to volunteer?  How much of a difference can you make in an hour or two?  Is it worthwhile?

These are all questions that Carlos, a local radio host with 91.5 The Beat, decided to answer.  As we mentioned previously (here) he is out in the community doing a different volunteer job with a different agency each day for 30 days.  This last Saturday was day Deed 23 and he was helping the House of Friendship distribute turkeys

Today is day 10 of our 12Days campaign.  Tomorrow is the final day of turkey distribution and by that time the last of the Christmas Hamper should be safely stashed away in people’s cupboards.  As of this morning, the final count for Christmas Hampers is 4081!  The 600+ volunteers who have helped accomplish this amazing record have touched the lives of thousands of people.   As Carlos demonstrates, you can make a big difference to someone in the space of an hour or two.  This is something that people never forget.

Have you decided to volunteer yet?  Let us know!  Comment, tweet @HOFKW or post on our facebook wall.

What the House of Friendship does to Pitch In

December 15, 2011

Trent, Christine and Colin get ready to Pitch In and share the first Turkey of the season

In the last 5 days we have been sharing stories of people who are getting involved this December and tips for getting your own volunteer journey started. (Read it here)

Today, we want to share a few more stories and ideas from House of Friendship staff.

At the House of Friendship (HoF), volunteers work closely beside us in virtually all our programs.  Did you know that HoF staff also volunteer and pitch in outside of their own jobs?  They do!  For some of us, (myself included) volunteering is what got us interested in the work that HoF does.  For others it is a natural extension of our desire to see the community be a better place and to continuously learn.

Christine told me:  “I volunteer with several local groups, with interests ranging from heritage preservation to my parish council. I have volunteered since returning from university some 20+ years ago, and remain grateful to the many talented and generous people who have taught me so much along the way.”

Have you considered that helping out can include things like preparing a meal for friends and reminding people that you’re there for them through difficult times?  Taylor at Charles Village shared with me: “My wife and I, and our friends are all making an extra casserole this week to give to a friend who has injured their hand. Because of a past personal experience we are aware of how difficult it can be to get by without the use of one hand. There is something profound about sharing food that you prepared with love. Any time of significant change or challenge is a great time to offer meals. It is a way that you can contribute something tangible during a time when things seem otherwise out of our control.”

At the Kingsdale Community Centre, staff person Fanny, volunteers  on the Board of Directors of MT Space and is the Artistic Director for Voices del Sur (a Spanish children’s choir) and Ecos del Sur (a Spanish adult choir).  She told me that she volunteers “because I have 3 passions, my language, music and children. I volunteer because it joins all these passions together. ”

And Bethany and Matt, co-workers of mine at the Food Hamper Program, have a long volunteer connection to the Christmas Hamper Program.   The brother and sister duo take time in the evening and on weekends to pitch in and help where they can, enlisting friends when possible and making it a family affair.  Matt told me “people come to volunteer with Christmas Hampers for many different reasons, but all of them seem to share the same excitement for helping people in our community during the holiday season.”

In previous years Bethany was able to spend more time with Christmas hampers, but the busy schedule here makes that difficult now.  She told me that “although I am not able to spend as much time at Christmas Hampers, I am still making an effort to deliver some hampers to people in our community. Volunteering at Christmas Hampers is a wonderful experience, where people come together every December, some who have been volunteering for many years, and others who are looking for something to get involved in during the holiday season.”

This is just a sample of some of the ways we at House of Friendship try and model the change we want to see in the community.  For us, volunteering and volunteers are a rewarding part of our lives and we hope that you’ll consider at least one way to make it a part of your life as well.  Let us know as we continue on our 12day journey of helping Kitchener Waterloo to get out there and volunteer.  Send us a shout out to @HOFKW on Twitter or post on our Facebook wall.  How are you pitching in?

United, we are stronger

November 14, 2011

You may have recently read about the United Way and its struggles to reach its campaign target this year. What does this mean for our community?

Through the House of Friendship (HOF), United Way helps thousands of people in our community living on low-income, people just like you and me.  Each year, HOF programs:  Emergency Food Hampers, the Charles Street Men’s Hostel, Live and Learn and four community centres benefit from the United Way funding thanks to the  many gifts and pledges that community members make through their workplace campaigns and individual donations. In short, thanks to United Way our community has a much stronger social safety net, which is important, especially through tough times like these.

House of Friendship staff support United Way; to date we have pledged $9,400 to HOF’s 2011 United Way Workplace Campaign.

Why do we support United Way?

At a recent internal United Way Workplace campaign event we asked this question and this is what staff had to say:

“I remember”

“I see the impact in the work I do every day”

We remember the people we serve, we remember the people who need a hand up.

“I’ve received”

Like everyone in this community, many of us have had difficult times that we have had to struggle through.  We remember what it’s like, and why the work we do is important.

“I can”

“I care”

“I have been given so much”

At the moment, we have the resources to share, we know it is important and because…

“It is love”

“It’s not mine to keep” and “I feel compelled to be inclusive”

Many of us do the work we do because we feel a strong sense of duty to make the world a better, more welcoming place, and to share our love for our neighbours.

The people we serve feel similarly.

It may surprise you to know that throughout the programs that receive funding from United Way program participants regularly volunteer.  As one program participant and volunteer at the Charles Street Men’s Hostel said during the recent United Way Day of Caring, “I’m volunteering to give back.”

And isn’t that what community is about?  Giving. Receiving. Sharing in the good times. Supporting each other through the tough times.

The United Way has shared its concerns and hopes for this year’s campaign.  As a community and individuals we have a choice about how we respond.  House of Friendship staff have chosen to step up. Join us.

Think about YOUR reason for giving and support United Way and our community. We all benefit.

The ART of Caring

November 12, 2011

On Friday evening local art show & sale, BOX11, hosted a Curator’s Reception.  This year, the Guest Curator is Jim Erb, who also Chairs the Kitchener Conestoga Rotary Club’s annual Turkey Drive in support of House of Friendship’s Christmas Hamper program.  

Like HOF’s year-round Emergency Food Hamper program, Christmas Hampers aims to share the gift of food with families in need, but this program is specifically for December when holiday lay-offs and the pressures and expectations of the season can break an already stretched budget.

The Turkey Drive is the official Charity Partner of BOX11.  A portion of the proceeds from art sales will help bring the gift of food to families across our community.  As the Guest Curator, Jim had the opportunity to share some comments. 

Through my work and community involvement I attend a fair number of events and hear probably far too many speeches, but Jim’s words caught my attention.  In the Rumpel Felt Factory amidst the art, chatter and food, Jim stood in front of us all and  reminded us:

This weekend is also about acknowledging that there are too many people in our community who will probably never be invited to a reception such as this. For many of us, tonight begins the “season of Christmas parties”.  For many others in our community, there will be no invitation to a multitude of Christmas parties.  Over the weekend, the generosity and resources of people like you and me will be able to purchase this beautiful artwork for our homes and offices. For many in our community, the little money they have will not be for art, but for basic food for their family.

Food for thougt no doubt for the coming Holidays.