Andrew, our volunteer of the month, has been helping out with grocery deliveries to Crescent House, since fall last year. As retired Director of Planning for the City of Nanaimo he saw the issues around homelessness from a professional perspective. Now that Covid has ended, he wanted to contribute in a hands-on way.
He saw that ICCS needed a volunteer to help with grocery deliveries. Andrew notes that he was happy to help out where needed. He says “Volunteers, if they can relieve some of the workload on staff, that’s important because staff have got so much on their plates already. If volunteers can take some of that load then that’s great.”
Andrew stresses the importance of giving back to the community. He has been in other volunteer roles and recognizes he is in a privileged place but is able “to do my bit.” He points out that “some people have been dealt a bad hand. It’s not that they wanted to be in that situation. It makes you see your problems look pretty minor compared to others.”
I ask Andrew if there was a moment that stood out for him since he started volunteering with ICCS. With a smile he mentions delivering hampers at Christmas.
“There were these boxes that the school kids had put together, the Shoebox Project. And I helped out with deliveries which took me to various places around town. There were a couple of things that touched me about that. One was the gratitude shown by our clients. They were just so happy to receive the parcels. I realized that people come from all different walks of life and are living in all sorts of different situations. I really saw how broad the reach of ICCS is in terms of reaching out to all those people. It was the gratitude of people that really touched me. It was the week we had heavy snow and one of the recipients of the parcels was out on the street, shovelling snow, trying to dig people’s cars out. Wow. Trying to help people get their cars back on the road.”
Our conversation coming to a close, Andrew adds “I’ve got a couple hours a week, I’m happy to give to the organization. And I would encourage people that way and say just try it. If it doesn’t work out for you, you can always say that you’ve tried it. And that’s fair.”