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Volunteers

Cory

Community Events

How did you get involved with the Food Bank?

  • I currently work for a non-profit that helps people in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, and I’ve always known the Food Bank is here.
  • My family accessed the Food Bank when I was growing up, and I came to the Food Bank myself for an emergency hamper.
  • Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help, so I stopped by the Food Bank and told them I wanted to volunteer. I’ve been volunteering at events for the Food Bank since September 2015.

Why do you volunteer?

  • I volunteer because I want to support the Food Bank and to help the community where I grew up.
  • Growing up in poverty has had a negative impact on my self-esteem, but the more I give back to the community, the better I feel.
  • I really thrive when I volunteer at events because I’m interested in reaching out to people, and I like interacting and engaging with them.

Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had volunteering here?

  • I am outgoing, and I’m not afraid to go up to people and ask them for donations, but I noticed this brand new volunteer who was incredibly shy. I could relate; I was really shy at one time too. I encouraged her to go up to some people and ask them for a donation. Once she worked up the courage and did it, she was so excited. It was wonderful to see that.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at the Food Bank/why should they volunteer?

  • I could give them a million reasons.
  • It’s a great way to get involved and develop a sense of connection to the community, which is invaluable.
  • It’s also a great way to build skills and work experience. The Food Bank is an incredible resource for our community and contributing to it is an amazing thing.

Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. What does that mean to you??

  • Community is one of the things that I value the most. I think that being a part of the community is something that’s really under-valued in importance.
  • I’ve lived in isolation and didn’t have a lot of community in my life, so it’s really valuable to me.
  • It’s also why I love living in East Vancouver. There’s such an effort to build community here.

Danny

Operations

How did you get involved with the Food Bank?

  • I have been volunteering at the Food Bank for around 30 years.*
  • Before getting involved with the Food Bank, I worked in a number of jobs including riding horses. I was a jockey on the racetrack in Vancouver. This job required a lot of skills and an understanding about how horses behave. I no longer ride now, but I still love horses and I visit the racetrack to watch them run — they’re amazing; they’re like athletes.
  • I began working with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in the 1980s. I cannot work independently and need some direction, so they put me in touch with the Food Bank about a volunteer position in the warehouse. I’ve been volunteering in the warehouse ever since.

Why do you volunteer?

  • I volunteer with the Food Bank because I like working on something and working hard, and I like the responsibilities I have which includes taking care of the cardboard recycling (there are tons of boxes in the warehouse) and contacting the recycling company for pick up.

Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had volunteering here?

  • The most rewarding experience for me was when I got my Electric Pallet Jack certificate. I had to work at it and it took me years to get. I’m excited about it because I can get more accomplished in the warehouse without getting tired.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at the Food Bank/why should they volunteer?

  • When you volunteer at the Food Bank, there are many chances to use your skills and you also discover the abilities that you have. You learn a lot of things working in the warehouse.

Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. What does that mean to you?

  • Volunteering is a two-way street — it works both ways: volunteers play an important role in our community; without them, the Food Bank wouldn’t be the same. But organizations also help volunteers too, by getting people out of their usual environments. They share their world with other people and they work together and collaborate.
  • The Food Bank is so much more than people realize, and when you volunteer at the Food Bank, you learn that.

*It’s estimated that Danny volunteers more hours than full-time staff at the Food Bank. Because of his hard work and dedication, Danny has become like family to many Operations staff. Danny was nominated for the 2016 Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, which recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to their communities.

Dawson

Member Services

How did you get involved with the Food Bank?

  • I got involved with the Food Bank two years ago when I retired. I started as a volunteer doing food sorts and continued to volunteer at one of the Food Bank locations. Later, I was contacted by Food Bank staff and asked if I would like to volunteer at the front desk at the main office.
  • Prior to retiring, I worked in sales and marketing in the shipping industry. I’ve also traveled to some amazing places, including Jordan and Turkey.

Why do you volunteer?

  • While I’ve never needed the Food Bank’s services, I know that a change of circumstances could lead anyone to go to the Food Bank. I came from a large family and we were not rich, so something like this could have happened to us. I help others because I understand how difficult it can be.
  • It’s incredibly rewarding to volunteer at the Food Bank. Every day is different. Before I retired, I got to meet a lot of people in my job, and I really started to miss that in retirement. I enjoy meeting and talking to people and the people who come to the Food Bank are so kind and grateful.

Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had volunteering here?

  • A couple of weeks ago a Syrian refugee came to the office with his family and two translators. They looked like they had gone through so much, and I was glad to be able to help them.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at the Food Bank/why should they volunteer?

  • It’s a really rewarding experience. You meet a lot of people, members and staff, and you’re making a difference.

Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. What does that mean to you?

  • Without volunteers, costs for the Food Bank would be a lot higher. When you volunteer, you are giving of yourself and your time. You feel like you’re part of the community.

Jean

Food and Education

How did you get involved with the Food Bank?

  • I’ve been volunteering with the Food Bank for a couple of decades now. I got involved in the late 80’s.
  • I learned about the opportunity to sort food through Volunteer Vancouver.
  • At the end of 2015, I was asked if I was interested in getting involved with DECK. I now volunteer with DECK and fill orders for the Community Kitchens helping out of the GVFB warehouse.

Why do you volunteer?

  • I am a person who has always liked to be busy. I retired after working at a hospital for 36 years with the payroll department and then as a porter. I have no husband and no children to look after, and within a month, I realized that retirement just wasn’t for me. That’s why I started volunteering with the Food Bank.
  • I also work for Princess Cruises when it’s cruise ship season. I give people directions as they are getting on and off the ship. I get to meet all kinds of people (I even met Dick Van Dyke). I really do love people.

Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had volunteering here?

  • This is an easy question to answer: Coming to the Food Bank and working with other volunteers and staff is like working with family. I feel that I’m needed and wanted, and am making a contribution.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at the Food Bank/why should they volunteer?

  • When you get involved in with the Food Bank you feel like you’re part of a family and when you help to meet the needs of others, you feel like you’re contributing.

Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. What does that mean to you?

  • To me, it means that volunteers are the backbone of organizations and communities.

Liam

Warehouse

How did you get involved with the Food Bank?

  • I have been volunteering with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank for almost a year. The organization reached out to my company and we volunteered in the Warehouse. I really enjoyed it and signed up to be on the volunteer email list. I have volunteered at fun events including “Coffee and Cars” and at a dog agility contest where we collected donations for the Food Bank.

Why do you volunteer?

  • I recently immigrated to Vancouver from Scotland. Both of my parents did quite a bit of volunteering, and when I came to this new community I wanted to contribute and help people here.
  • This was especially poignant when I became a Canadian citizen 18 months ago and went through the citizenship ceremony. The judge who presided over the ceremony talked about how volunteering is a key part of citizenship.
  • I also volunteer because I feel like I’m making a difference by helping people in the local community. In the process, I’ve learned more about communicating to the public what the Food Bank does and how they’re helping people.

Can you tell us about one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had volunteering here?

  • When I volunteered at the Coffee and Cars event, a man donated a lot of money to the Food Bank. He told me that he had used the Food Bank once and that it helped him to survive. For me, his story really stuck because his life looked so different from what it had been.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering at the Food Bank — why should they volunteer?

  • I would say that it’s a valuable experience because you get to meet a lot of people when you volunteer and you always get to meet new people. It’s an especially good way to meet people if you’re new to the community. The Food Bank provides a lot of opportunities to volunteer and volunteer experiences. They are flexible in terms of how much time you have to devote as well.

Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. What does that mean to you?

  • To me, it means that local communities should support local organizations — we should help each other.

Teekay Shipping

Teekay Shipping

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.