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“I miss seeing everyone laugh and smile. We used to sit down together at the market cafe, talk about the muffins that day. Now, the cafe is to-go only, and people wear masks so you can’t see their smiles.”

Dania first started volunteering at the Hamilton Community Food Centre to complete her high school community involvement hours.

She met the required hours within a few months. But she kept up her weekly shift at the affordable produce market because she loved the sense of community there.

“At times with school and work, it feels like everything has to be perfect. Homework, my work at my job. But when I volunteer at the market, I get to slow down, talk to people, have silly conversations with community members. There’s something so calming about having the time to really talk to people and appreciate the moment.”

Now, as she prepares to start university in the fall, she hopes to stay connected with the Community Food Centre and come back to volunteer when she can. Because she sees the important role it plays in her community.

“[Without the CFC], I think it would be a lot harder to access health, even if it’s food. For example, when you go to the market, you can find out about the other programs they offer...There’s that small push people might need to help get them on their feet.”

In honour of National Volunteer Week, we want to recognize just how important volunteers like Dania are. 

We appreciate the hard work and community dedication—especially during the pandemic. Volunteers have shown up on the front lines to prepare takeaway meals, pack food hampers, check in with isolated community members, and so much more.

So, a great BIG thank you to all of our volunteers across the country. We see you, and we value you.
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