Posts Tagged ‘volunteer profile’

Volunteer Spotlight: Rolf W.

May 22, 2013

Rolf W.

Rolf has been volunteering packing hampers for just over 7 years now, and showing no signs of slowing down. He comes in every Monday and even though he works hard the whole time, somehow manages to finish the entire crossword puzzle in the break room without anyone noticing. It was great to sit down with one of our long time regular volunteers.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I heard about it through the YMCA, where I volunteered for a long time. A few people I knew from there were very involved with the House of Friendship, so I decided to give it a try.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy it very much—it gives me a sense of feeling I’m contributing in some small way to people who need help. I enjoy working with my fellow volunteers, they all have a great sense of humour. After volunteering here I feel a great sense of accomplishment.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I like packing hampers, it keeps me busy. The quotas change all the time so it really keeps me on my toes. I like helping in other areas when it’s slow too, like packing meat. I enjoy that volunteering here is very hands on.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

I’m retired, so it’s given me an opportunity to get involved with people outside of sports and leisure.

Is there one experience of helping here that sticks out in your mind?

I remember once a young girl was by herself getting a hamper. She was in tears because she hadn’t been here before and she felt like she was taking advantage. I had to explain that our service is available to her for when she needs it, and I tried to encourage her. I’ll always remember that she left with a smile.

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I volunteered with the YMCA for 20 years at the front desk mostly. I was also on their advisory council.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I love golfing and travelling to different countries. The best place I’ve been is Santorini in Greece. I also like doing crosswords and Sudoku. I’ve collected coins since I was 12 years old. At home my partner and I love hiking—we’ve done almost half of the Bruce Trail started in the Niagara area.

I appreciate Rolf taking the time to share a bit about himself and why he has been coming here for so long. It’s great that we have dedicated volunteers to make life a little bit easier for those who come in for food. Thanks Rolf!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Betty

May 8, 2013

Betty

Betty is one of our regular Monday volunteers, along with her husband John. For them, volunteering here is a family affair—their son Matt is the volunteer coordinator, and their daughter Bethany used to work at intake. Betty is clearly dedicated to the work we do here. You can find her doing whatever is needed, either getting her hands dirty sorting donations that come in or packing hampers. She also has great friendships with fellow volunteers—one week she hears someone say they like lasagne, and the next week she brought in a whole lasagne for everyone to share!  I managed to tear her away from sorting bread to sit down and ask her a few questions.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I heard about it through my son Matt, the volunteer coordinator at the food hamper program. One of my friends also used to live in Sunnydale and she told me all about the community centre there and the House of Friendship.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

It makes me feel good to help people, and I enjoy working with the other volunteers. Everyone here is kind of like family.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I like sorting through food orders we get from Loblaw’s, I like doing it all. Here we took a break to laugh about what we call the yogurt test—when we get tubs of yogurt in our Loblaw’s order many didn’t survive the trip. To see whether or not they’re ok, you have to squeeze them. If they’re fine then you stay clean, otherwise you could get covered in yogurt!

How has volunteering impacted your life?

I look forward to Mondays! It’s fun—I even come by on other days if Matt needs some extra help. I feel like I’m helping people when I’m here.

Is there one experience you’ve had here that you remember?

It really affects me if it’s someone’s first hamper—I’ve had experiences with men and women where they cry when they come in. It really touches me. I usually give them a hug and try to give some words of encouragement.

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I used to volunteer with Live and Learn at the House of Friendship, with mom’s and young kids. I used to babysit full time, now I only do two days per week, but I love working with children. I also volunteer with our kids program and Sunday school at church.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I love doing jigsaw puzzles, sewing, and cooking. I cook for the people who run our kids program at church once per week! I also sing in the Laurier choir with my sisters, that’s just something I do for me.

We’re glad that Betty makes time in her schedule to volunteer here, along with all the other things she’s involved with. She’s a big help because she enjoys doing so many different things. Thanks, Betty, for including all of us at food hampers in your extended family!

Volunteer Spotlight: Ken

April 24, 2013

Ken

Ken is one of our regular Monday volunteers. He comes in at 8am and stays until the truck is unloaded and the work is done—and he’s done this for almost 13 years! You can always tell when he’s in the warehouse if you listen for whistling or singing—Ken has a song for just about every situation. Mention your favourite herb and he’ll start singing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.” Talk about your friend named Layla and he’ll sing the chorus of Eric Clapton’s song by the same name. He has a great attitude when he’s here and some great friendships with other Monday volunteers, so it was nice to get to know a little more about Ken.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I  think I learned about it through church, but I’ve just known about it for a long time. When I retired I knew I should give back to the community and they hired me. Helping people with food is near and dear to my heart, it’s great outreach.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy the people I work with here, even Bob! Just kidding, Bob is one of the reasons I show up here. I have great friendships.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

Coffee break! Just kidding. I like unloading and stocking shelves, or helping wherever I’m needed. Packing hampers just isn’t my thing so I help out elsewhere.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

It provided structure in my life when I first retired, and it’s continued to provide structure. It’s also part of what we do as a church community, it’s just part of our ministry. Before I retired I was a teacher and an educational consultant.

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I volunteer with church as well, right now I sit on the hospitality committee.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I’m in a hiking group with friends. We’ve hiked the whole Bruce Trail six and a half times, and have covered over 8000 kilometres together. We go all day every Wednesday. We always try to learn something about the nature along the trail. I’m an elections junkie too—I work for elections Canada and elections Ontario.

We’re glad you’ve chosen to keep coming to volunteer here as part of your weekly routine, Ken! Thanks for taking the time to share a little more about you.

Volunteer Spotlight: Val

April 10, 2013

Val

Val has been volunteering at Food Hampers for a year now, but it feels like she’s been here forever because she fits in so well. She has something called chronic fatigue syndrome, but you wouldn’t know it by how much energy she has when she comes in–she’s always chatting with people and catching up with her fellow volunteers. She loves explaining new foods to people who use the program and trying to get them to try things they haven’t had before. My personal favourite is whenever she talks a bachelor who hates vegetables into cooking cabbage! She has also been known to drive people home with their hampers if they’re having trouble accessing transportation. It was great to sit down and learn more about such a dedicated volunteer.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I bumped into my dear friend Betty who also volunteers at the Food Hamper Program. I was in a severe depression at the time and told her I had nothing to do during the day, and she recommended I try it. It stabilized my life.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I love the diversity of people I work with and getting to know everyone. I love relating to the people we’re serving and trying my best to meet their needs. It’s great to be able to help.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I love packing hampers! I like finding healthy treats for the kids, and helping  parents try healthy options like whole wheat bread instead of white. I tell people to make their kids sandwiches with one slice whole wheat and one white until the kids are used to it, and then make the full switch. I love giving people tips so they take healthier things. Feeding another person is an intimate act, and people are very defensive about what they eat, but most are open to suggestion too.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering here has brought me out into the world again because I was very isolated. With my health concerns (chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia), I pulled further and further away from my friends. It’s very difficult to maintain a social life when I feel exhausted and my brain feels foggy all the time. I think humans have a need to be needed, and if that need involved food, then I’m there!

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I’ve volunteered at the library taking books to seniors, with the Out of the Cold program, and in the nursery at church.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

When I’m feeling up to it I love ten pin bowling (I’m useless at five pin). I also play darts at the legion. I love reading, especially crime novels set in the Victorian era or Agatha Christie. I grew up in England and my first love is the ocean.

I really appreciate Val taking the time to talk about her life. Her dedication and enthusiasm are infectious and brighten the mood wherever she is. Thanks Val!

Volunteer Spotlight: Geoff

March 27, 2013
Geoff hard at work packing hampers.

Geoff hard at work packing hampers.

Geoff is a student at Conestoga College in the Police Foundations program and has been volunteering for over a year. He’s a positive guy who chats with everyone who comes in, and is reliably here every Tuesday at 11 am. He rarely misses a week even though he’s a student, has a job, and volunteers with other organizations. I don’t know how he finds the time to come in, but we’re sure glad he does!

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I heard about the program through KW Volunteering.com

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy working with the nice people here at EFHP and meeting the clients that we serve. I enjoy the satisfaction of making a measurable difference.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I enjoy packing hampers because it gives me an opportunity to speak with our clients and get to know them.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has helped me better understand people that exist outside my own circle of friends. It makes it easier to communicate with people I don’t know or don’t know very well.

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I volunteer at R.O.O.F. Drop-in and Operation Come Home

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I enjoy drumming.

Thanks Geoff for taking this time to answer our questions. We really appreciate the work you do packing hampers, finding the time in your busy schedule.  

Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah K.

March 6, 2013

 

Two great volunteers! Holly (left) and Sarah (right).

Two great volunteers! Holly (left) and Sarah (right).

 

Sarah K. has been volunteering here since February 2012, and was a summer student this year at the front desk. She’s a great person to have around because she’s always calm and considerate with people who come in. It was great to get to know her this summer, and we’re thankful she’s staying on to volunteer, even as a university student with a busy schedule. Other facts about Sarah are that she’s currently studying Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University, plays the cello, and is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

How did you hear about the House of Friendship?

I heard about House of Friendship from a friend of mine while I was looking for a job a few years back. Then I had the opportunity to do a student placement at the Emergency Food Hamper Program (EFHP) and I jumped at the chance.

What do you enjoy about volunteering here?

I enjoy the family atmosphere At the Emergency Food hamper program. At the EFHP, I can be myself and serve other people in the process.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I really love the variety of people I can help and work with. I especially love packing hampers because it is concrete and simple, yet very satisfying and personal.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has allowed me to have some time in the week that is for me, as well as for others. I come to volunteer because I love doing it.

Are there any other places you have volunteered?

I volunteered in a classroom at Lutherwood on Benjamin Road for a term.

What hobbies and interests do you enjoy in your spare time?

When I am not volunteering I am studying Music Therapy and playing cello. I try my best to fit in a little painting, sewing, or baking whenever I can.

Thanks Sarah for sharing with us and we’re so happy that you choose to spend your time so generously with us. You are such a positive person to have at the Emergency Food Hamper Program!

Volunteer Spotlight: Iris

February 13, 2013

Iris photo

Iris is a Bachelor of Social Work placement student along with Rana and is here to the end of June. I took a quick opportunity to chat with her and find out more about someone who is going to be here for a while. She and her husband have been in the K-W area for over two years now and are from Fergus and Hamilton respectively. She’s willing to do anything we throw her way, from learning intake, to packing hampers, to other warehouse jobs. She and Rana are both doing the ten month Bachelor of Social work through the University of Waterloo. She has been a quick study and is picking up a lot!

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I found out about the House of Friendship through the University of Waterloo placement fair. The House of Friendship was one of two placements I was offered and I chose the House of Friendship because of the variety of services offered and how long it has been around for. It’s pretty amazing that the House of Friendship has been around since 1939.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy meeting all the volunteers and staff members. This has been a great place to learn about the face of poverty in Waterloo region.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I really enjoy doing intake and finding out about the needs of the program participants. I like learning about the need for Emergency food services.

 How has volunteering impacted your life?

It affected about my perceptions of need. I didn’t realize how much need there was in the community. It really made me appreciate what supports I have.

Are there any other programs that your or have volunteered with?

I’m at the Kingsdale community centre. I also work in the food distribution program there, participate in groups and am involved in community outreach as well.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I enjoy watching movies, especially documentaries. Right now I’m watching Being Elmo. I also cycle and go cross country skiing in the winter. I love to travel and experience new cultures.

Thanks so much Iris for taking a moment out of busy schedule to chat with me. It was really nice to find out more about you, since you’re here every Wednesday. We really appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the Emergency Food Hamper Program. We also appreciate your willingness to learn and get your hands dirty.

Volunteer Spotlight: Rana

January 30, 2013

Rana picturesRana is one of our two Bachelor of Social Work placement students here at the Emergency Food Hamper Program, along with Iris. She is here on Fridays and the rest of the time she is at Courtland-Shelley community centre. Since both she and Iris are here until June, I decided that it would be a good opportunity to get to know her better. She is originally a nutritionist from Lebanon and decided to make a career change once her kids were more grown up. She is catching on fast and is clearly passionate about the work we do here.

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I found out about the House of Friendship through the University of Waterloo Placement Fair. The placement fair is where all the BSW students and the MSW students find placements for the year. I met Michael (the chaplain) at the fair and he explained the programs and then I chose the House of Friendship to do my placement.

What do you enjoy about your placement at the EFHP?

I enjoy working with the staff because they are friendly and approachable. I like learning about the process here and helping people that come to the program. It’s good to see the face of poverty and those that are affected. The environment really encourages learning and personal growth.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I enjoy doing intake and packing hampers. I like packing hampers and making choices that will help them. I like to customize the hampers for each individual household. I like doing intake and learning about why they use the program and what brought them here.

How has placement impacted your life?

I have started to appreciate that I take for granted like food, and health. It has given me more in depth understanding about the connection between health and food security and the impact of food security on people’s life. I learned that poverty gives someone a real lack of control over their life.

Are there any other programs that you or have volunteered with?

I used to volunteer at Strong Start in Laurel wood Public School which is a reading program for kindergarten and grade 1. I also volunteered at a senior’s home and I entertained the residents by walking and chatting with them. I also took them places like the mall.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I like to relax by watching TV, going for walks and travelling. My favourite place is Florence Italy and my family goes back to Lebanon every summer. I also like to read and watch documentaries.

Thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy schedule to let us get to know you. It’s great to learn about someone who will play a big role in the organization over the next nine months. We also appreciate your willingness to learn and to get started right away. Thanks so much Rana!

Volunteer Spotlight: Wanda

September 6, 2012

Wanda has been volunteering at the Emergency Food Hamper Program since January 2012, giving over 70 hours of her time.  Wanda is such a positive person who brings so much energy to this program.  It has been so much fun getting to know Wanda since she started volunteering here.  Here is what Wanda had to say about her time spent volunteering at the EFHP.   

 How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I used to volunteer at Chandler Mowat Community Centre.  I helped with a number of different programs there.  I really enjoyed working with the teens at the ‘After 4’ program.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

I enjoy helping the community, and feeling like I am giving back in my own way.  I also really love the people that I have met here.  I see everyone here as being a part of one big happy family.  I guess you could say that they are all my sisters and brothers from another mother!  Volunteering at the EFHP is also a great escape for me, to get away from my daily schedule.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I am happy doing whatever is needed.  Usually I am packing hampers, but I like bagging the bulk food items as well.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has brought so much happiness into my life.  I leave here knowing that I have made a positive difference in my community.  Volunteering just gives me such a good feeling.

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

Currently I am not volunteering anywhere else.  I am not longer living near the community centre that I used to volunteer at, so that is why I started volunteering at the food hamper program.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I love music!  I play the drums and so I like to make time to play them as much as possible.  I also really enjoy going to live concerts and participating in multicultural events that are held in the community.  I love spending time with my friends.  Nancy, a fellow volunteer, and I have become quite close since we both started volunteering at the Emergency Food Hamper Program.

Thank you, Wanda for sharing!  We have really enjoyed getting to know your fun personality. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Candace

August 2, 2012

Candace has been volunteering at the Emergency Food Hamper Program since April 2012, giving over 100 hours of her time!  In the months that she has been volunteering, Candace has shown us that she is up for anything here.  We have really appreciated her willingness to assist new volunteers as they navigate the world of hamper packing.  Here is what Candace had to say about her experience volunteering with us. 

How did you hear about House of Friendship?

I used to come into the Emergency Food Hamper Program for assistance with food for myself so I was familiar with the types of things that House of Friendship did.

What do you enjoy about volunteering at the EFHP?

What don’t I enjoy about volunteering here?  I enjoy making a difference in the lives of the people that come in for food hampers.  I enjoy the staff and volunteers that I get the opportunity to work with.  All in all, I enjoy it all.

What’s your favourite job at our program?

I have two favourite jobs at the EFHP.  I love packing hampers.  When I get the food slip that tells me what the person and the people in their household would like, I try to keep them in mind as I pack their hamper.  The food slip tells me the age range of the people in a household.  I am a mother myself, so if I see that there are kids in the family, I try and pick out things that I think they would like.

My second favourite job here is sorting through the baby items that we put in hampers like diapers and formula for families with young children.  It can be seen as a small part of the program, but I know it makes such a difference in the lives of those families receiving some extra help with things for their babies.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has definitely positively impacted my life.  This gives me a great sense of worth.  Before I started volunteering here, I felt useless in a lot of ways, but now I feel like I am making a positive impact in my community.  I have something called GAD, which stands for ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder’.  With this anxiety disorder, I feel a real lack of control over the way I feel.  Volunteering here has given me back a sense of control that I have been missing for a long time now.  In the past, when I had to come here for a food hamper, I can remember my anxiety levels being high because those situations would be very difficult for me to deal with.  I am now on the other side of things, and I have regained the sense of control that I had been missing for quite a while.  Volunteering has been like cheap therapy for me!

Are there any other programs that you are or have volunteered with?

I am not volunteering anywhere else right now.  I was previously involved with a number of different programs in the area, but because of some personal things, I needed to step back for a while.

What kind of activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t working or volunteering?

I spend a lot of time with my daughter and my friend’s children.  I have a patio garden with lots of vegetables that I love to try cooking new things with.  I also really look forward to making my preserves each year.  I just completed my patch of strawberry jam, and will start to work on other fruit jams soon!  I also love reading all types of genres.  You name it, I’ll read it!

Thanks Candace for sharing with us!  It was great to have the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about what keeps you coming back week after week.