What brought you to HOPE House?
I moved to Guelph from Markham about 2 years ago. At that time, I did not know anyone in the community but I chose Guelph because I like how the city is so green and has all the big town amenities but the feel of a small town. A few months ago, at the end of my sabbatical, I was looking at the Guelph Police web pages for opening positions when I came upon the various volunteer positions at HOPE House. The HOPE House mission and the various ways it provides to the community align very much with my core values. Many moons ago, when I was a teenager, my family came to Canada as refugees. We had very little and had to rely on others to help us get started. It was from that experience that I strongly believe in: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Thus, it was natural that I ended up giving my time at HOPE House. Through HOPE House many are not only given ‘fish’ for their immediate needs but also the opportunity to ‘learn how to fish’.
2. What do you like about volunteering at HOPE House?
There’s a quote by Winston Churchill that I like to remind myself often. He said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Volunteering at HOPE House has given me the opportunity to serve and to share my ‘food’ passion with others. This year we had an abundant harvest of squash from HOPE House gardens. Unfortunately, I am among those who are not familiar with the preparation of the numerous varieties. So, it was an exciting adventure to experiment and find recipes that utilized what came in from the gardens. I believe firmly that foods, when use properly, can nourish and heal our bodies. My goal was to create recipes that have high nutritional content and can be easily made with everyday ingredients. I know it gave me great satisfaction to know that many others also enjoyed my two favourite dishes that I made for the HOPE House Café: Butternut Squash soup and Crustless Spaghetti Squash quiches. It would give me great joy even if just a few who shopped in our food market benefited from my recipes and any additional cooking tips.
3. How have you seen HOPE House change lives?
It’s neat to see that all who come to HOPE House for help are also given the opportunity to pay it forward. HOPE House is more than just a place for immediate relief. It is a place for those who need a hand up. I know from working in the food market that our fresh produce is one of the things that many people value and appreciate. Also, since HOPE House shares its excess produce with other agencies, the food that comes to HOPE House benefits people in the larger community. If “it is more blessed to give than to receive” then I think many lives are blessed by the opportunities HOPE House offers for one 'to give’ as well as 'to receive'.