When I finished working full time about 6 years ago, I was at a loss of what to do with the extra time on my hands. Hadn’t really thought about it prior to the first day I was home alone. A few weeks later; after cleaning all the corners, matching my husband’s long lost socks, cleaning the garage, and ready for Christmas by Thanksgiving, I started to feel a gap in my life. Having always wanted to do volunteer work, but never having the time, I did some research and ended up volunteering at our local food bank. I can tell you, when we get to write success stories, the feeling is unbelievable. The latest of which came a couple of weeks ago.
I was in a local store shopping, when this lady (I’ll call her Susie), came up to me and gave me a huge hug and asked if I remembered her. I replied that I certainly did, and she said she just had to come over and tell me how her life has changed. Susie first came to the Food Bank a few years ago, a young mother left unexpectedly on her own, with young children. I remember her distinctly; she was so desperate; and yet so humble and embarrassed to have to use the services of The Food Bank. When Susie arrived for her first hamper in the middle of a very cold winter, she had noticeably been crying, and when she saw the hamper that we had put together for her, she started to cry all over again. Then she started to talk, and cry some more, and when she was finished, I gave her a hug, and told her the hamper came with a little prayer of hope that things would only get better for her.
We took care of Susie and her family off and on for over a year and then we didn’t see her at all; although I had often wondered about her. But when she came over to me in that store a couple of weeks ago, there was a confident, young lady standing in front of me, bubbling over with excitement, and she started to tell me how she had just finished upgrading her education and doing an internship and was now ready for the work force. Susie said she will never forget how The Food Bank and its volunteers were there for her, and how she was always treated with consideration and dignity. She said when you no longer have to worry about how you’re going to feed the kids, the load becomes more bearable, and you can think more clearly. With the help of family, friends and The Food Bank, Susie was able to concentrate on doing just that. She also says someday she will give back and will volunteer as soon as she can. We all wish you the best of luck, Susie!!!
I want to thank everyone who makes my volunteering at our Food Bank so rewarding, my fellow volunteers, especially Shirlee and Ken; our dedicated board, the wonderful generous community in which we live, as well as our corporate partners.
Please help us write more success stores by supporting our first annual Mayor’s Food Drive and Fundraiser weekend, June 14th & 15th. Tickets are still available for the Rich Man Poor Man dinner on the Friday night at Mo’s Liquor Store, The General Store, and M&M Meat Shops. For full information, please check our website at www.chestermerefoodbank.ca or on Facebook.