Apr. 20 – Volunteer Appreciation Week
Volunteer Appreciation Week
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown
This week is National Volunteer Week in Canada, and we at Winnipeg Harvest are proud of our Volunteer Manitoba Award winner—Dennis and Carol Hydamaka of Lord’s Bounty Food Bank in Flin Flon, MB. Their commitment to serving their neighbours in need is admirable. But, they are not alone.
I visited two Winnipeg food banks last week and I was overcome with both pride and sadness. Pride, because I saw the food Winnipeg Harvest had collected and delivered laid out nicely for their community members to come in and select food for their families, but a profound sadness to see the number of families needing food.
I spoke to many food bank clients, some were seniors who live in low-income housing and they were upset and concerned over the upcoming increase in rent from 28% of their income to 30%. They don’t know how they will make ends meet if they’re already struggling. Even though they were upset about the increase they were all very happy to have the food bank so close to them. They feel respected and welcomed like they’re part of the community. These food banks and most of the ones across Manitoba are run by volunteers. Without their support, Winnipeg Harvest could not distribute food to needy families across Manitoba
The roles volunteers fill are many:
- Working on behalf of Winnipeg Harvest to collect food
- Filling a host of volunteer roles at Winnipeg Harvest; taking calls for food, serving in the food bank, sorting food of all types, packaging and delivering food to food banks, picking up food from donors and supporting our small staff.
- Getting the food out to the community food banks; meeting the Winnipeg Harvest trucks to unload the food, then laying out the food and then welcoming their neighbours as they come through the food bank.
On behalf of Winnipeg Harvest board of directors, staff, donors and partners I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers who work alongside Winnipeg Harvest to fight hunger in Manitoba.