How did you get involved with the Food Bank?
- Our company offers employees 3 paid days a year to volunteer. A few years ago, our Corporate Social Responsibility Committee (CSR) decided to explore new ways for employees to volunteer as a group, and the Food Bank struck a chord with our Committee. We have been bringing groups ever since, about 5-6 times a year.
Why do you volunteer?
- Last year, 65 of our employees volunteered during work time on group opportunities. In addition, many of our employees volunteer after hours with other charities or schools. The theme that runs through all of the comments from our volunteers either ‘wants to give back to the community and make a difference’ or ‘wishing to help out with their children’s activities’. It helps that our company is supportive of its employees.
- The Food Bank is my personal favourite place to volunteer. At the warehouse, you really feel like you are making a difference. However, the first time I entered the warehouse, it was scary to see all the racks of food and realize just how much need there is out there.
Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had volunteering here?
- I can tell you that the regular volunteers always like the sense of accomplishment when they are helping out at the Food Bank. The core group LOVES to do the front sort, and completely clear the area. Recently, our group cleared up every area, including the canned goods, beverages, Station 3 and 4, filled up the emergency kit area and emptied all the composting required. It was such a good feeling for all of us at the end of the shift to have every packing area empty!
What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at the Food Bank/why should they volunteer?
- I would first outline the new strategic plan that is being moved forward by Aart, the management and the Board. I admire that way in which change is slowly happening – healthier food being made available, teaching people how to prepare and cook food, the new concept for the depots, etc. This is a far cry from the Food Bank of old, and the only way to break the cycle.
- By volunteering, we are allowing the Food Bank to save money on wages – the amount of volunteer hours must add up to a huge amount, and if the Food Bank had to pay people to do this, there would definitely be less money to spend on the valuable buying power they have to make bulk purchases.
- Be prepared to work hard!
Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. What does that mean to you?
- There is a lot of need in our community today, due to a variety of factors. Without the help of volunteers, it’s going to take a lot more time for things to change for the better. Government can only do so much with the money it has, and there is no personal touch. Volunteers are building a sense of community in what they contribute, and have a stake in making the community a better place.