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Jacob volunteering in food bank

Jacob’s Story, Volunteering in the Food Bank

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our city and our neighbours, YSM has been so grateful for your support in all the many ways you have been showing it: through messages of encouragement, funds, time, supplies and more.

YSM has redistributed our staff to fill in gaps where volunteers would normally work to ensure our relief services can continue for those who need them most. In order to minimize the spread of the virus, we have minimized our volunteer needs during this time to only engage a few specific volunteers. One of those volunteers is Jacob.

Jacob began volunteering with YSM a couple of years ago through his church’s small group, regularly preparing and serving meals at our Bridges’ dinners. His desire to intentionally serve and build community were important factors in his continued volunteering at YSM.

A couple of weeks into YSM’s modified COVID service plan, Jacob was asked if he would be willing to support YSM’s Food Bank by volunteering once a week. Knowing the needs were great during this time, Jacob agreed. “It came from a feeling of responsibility,” he said, “I usually teach, but this semester is over so I had more free time, I am young and more easily able to be out.”

He remarked on the length of the line-up to receive groceries: community members, all at least 6 feet apart, lined up down the street calmly waiting for their pick-up. Jacob was impressed at how smoothly the Food Bank was able to operate, even with such high demand and in the new model designed to keep everyone safe.

Jacob has been especially moved by the amount of food being given in the form of groceries to community members at YSM’s Davis Centre. He remembers arriving one day and seeing floor to ceiling stacks of boxes filled with food and thinking ‘This will last us so long’ and returning a few days later to see it nearly gone. It was an eye-opener for him to experience, so tangibly, the amount needed by those struggling with poverty, especially during this challenging time.

“I’ve been really impressed with the staff. All this need and there are more people coming every day, but the staff are not stingy, they don’t try to hoard. Their thinking is ‘This is the food that has been provided and we’re going to give it out.’ Each community member gets what they need and when food starts to run low the staff believe more will come through.

“These days it’s easy to feel fearful, seeing everyone as a potential threat to your health. Being in the Food Bank and seeing people in need and people working to respond to that need creates a sense of neighbourhood. Giving back has helped me have less fear.”

“This is really important, the things YSM is doing, they are so crucially needed and all who support YSM are part of providing these services.”