The Volunteers of COVID-19 and Food & Friends at Home

September 23, 2020

Volunteer 1

Millions of people across Canada have come together during these times and found meaningful ways to give back to their community. We would like to tell you an inspirational story of our Food & Friends at Home volunteers. These individuals have truly made a difference and are feeding their passions through volunteering.

When COVID-19 hit, the organization needed to take a step back and think about how we would support the kids who were now faced with even greater struggles due to the pandemic. We were unsure how volunteers would feel about getting involved at such a scary and uncertain time. We were however, not surprised to see over 80 volunteers come together to say, "Yes, we can make this happen!", and we want to put a spotlight on some of these volunteers.

One of our volunteers, Patti Schoop, came in to pack and deliver on multiple days, bringing her laugh and great music. She was able to recruit her amazing daughter, Jessica, who has now become a dedicated volunteer for the foundation.
Jody Dietrich was another volunteer who came on board as his place of employment closed due to the pandemic. Jody was in the trenches and, not only did he join our team, he enlisted the support of his sister Cindy, her husband and,
3 of his nieces: Alyssa, Melissa and, Tera. Talk about family volunteering!
Stephanie Tomlin, the student nutrition program coordinator at St. Mary Catholic School in Elora, understood the importance of pivoting our program to delivering food directly out to families’ homes. When the schools closed back in March, she was concerned about the children who rely on our nutrition programs for their daily food. She quickly stepped up to take on the lead volunteer role at our Elora packing site. She loved volunteering her time with our Fresh Food for Kids initiative, she also brought the rest of her family on board to volunteer as well: her husband, her two kids, her mother and, her brother. We knew we could always depend on Stephanie to get the job done and, when we were looking for donations to fund Fresh Food for Kids, her and her husband Steve made a large donation. Their corporate company even matched their donation!
We had other volunteers who were voluntold -- Bill Wilson, Jason and Ryan Turner, Jason Carere, Bob Megan, Alanna Vosper… the list goes on. No matter what brought these amazing volunteers to our door, it is clear that they are true super heroes and, they were here for their community.
There were school teachers who were concerned for the kids and their families they know and love: Matt Timberlake, Nicole Debeyer, Tara Nicholson, Catherine Present, Michele Lebon, Janice Mason, Sara Wilson, Gary Robinson, etc. These volunteers just jumped in with both feet and did whatever was needed to ensure these kids got what they needed. Now that is commitment!
We had students who were out of school and looking for a way to give back: Hanna Pryce, Ruth Martin, Jessica Ernst, Jillian and Allison Tomlin, Abby and Emma Wilson, Quentin and Kazer Wolkensperg and, Hannah Petty, and Board Members jumping into the trenches with us like Dan Burnham, Scott McRoberts, Joe Migliaccio and others. Scott even used this opportunity to introduce his 2 young children to volunteerism, way to go Scott!

Volunteer 2

There were also new volunteers who were excited to get involved, like Anna Earley and her daughter, Celia and Pete Clark (a husband and wife duo) and, Jenny and Sandor (another husband and wife duo), and Dave Lego. We also had a flood of long standing volunteers who always step up, like Jeff Watson, Sharron Evans, Cindy Robinson, Henry Kielar, Jane Martin, Alana Drone, Angela Mathers, and Ron Cowley... and many more.

We even had people sign up to volunteer who were also recipients of this food, as they were so very grateful for all we were doing for them.

We simply would not have been able to run this program without our volunteers; they made this possible. We were so impressed with the support and commitment from our volunteers; we now feel confident to move forward with Food & Friends at Home. If this story doesn’t warm your heart and feed your soul, then I suggest you come out to the Food & Friends at Home packing site so you can see what is happening with this amazing group.
Volunteers, from our family to yours, thank you so much for your ongoing support!