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Rogers Volunteer Spotlight: Kara Lea Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by: Kara Lea Douglas, Executive Assistant To Laurel MacKay-Lee, The Shopping Channel, The Merchandising Team, The Shopping Channel
Charity Name: Eden Food For change

 

What made you get involved in the Rogers Employee Volunteer Program?
We decided as a team that we wanted to support a charity where we live and work.  After researching different options we decided on volunteering at Eden Food for Change in Mississauga.  We were initially impressed to learn that they were more than a traditional Food Bank. The organization’s credo of “Thinking Outside the Can” is a unique one. It offers clients a weekly produce box that supplements their existing dry and canned good allocations. Eden provides its clients with interactive kitchen classes to teach the necessary skills to take the fresh produce and canned food and create nutritionally balanced meals for their families.

What did you do for your day-of-giving and did anyone join you?
In groups of 10, the Merchandising Team spent a total of 3 half days at Eden Food for Change.  Each session began with a tour of the facility, introductions to the special people behind the organization, an overview of the programs offered, who their clients were, number of estimated visits per client, and what the present crucial needs were. We learned about their unique client support programs, and in addition finding out what it takes to sustain the organization on a daily basis. After our information session we dove right into our tasks with vigour.

Tell us what your day was like!
Day 1: Volunteers made three different varieties of soup from scratch yielding several hundred litres with the assistance of Eden Food for Change’s onsite chef. We were very proud to know that we were preparing hearty soup that would eventually feed upwards of 300+ people over the long winter months. We were sad to see the day end, but couldn’t wait to start planning for next year.

Day 2 & 3: Volunteers unloaded 8 full pallets of food and personal care donations and re-sorted them into their proper categories in the warehouse. During the sorting we became aware of just how important donations throughout the year are. The shelves are often near empty in the months of July and August because cycles of donations for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter just won’t sustain them through the entire year. With this knowledge we knew that we would need to plan a donation in early July to help do our part.

What was your favourite moment during your volunteer experience?
The best part of the experience was knowing that we were making a difference to a number of families. We liked that our actions were directly helping in placing nutritional meals on otherwise empty tables.

Did you take away anything valuable from the experience?
The value achieved through this experience was immeasurable.  It brought us closer as a group and gave us the opportunity to get to know our peers outside of the traditional workplace. On a deeper level I know it profoundly affected us all and altered our perceptions about how Food Banks are utilized and by whom. We were all very proud to have had the opportunity to assist in our community, and we are looking forward to continuing our support.