Guest Blog: Volunteers

Jump7Once again the team from made the decision to do something amazing.  This week they visited the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre to give back to the community.  James Taylor wrote about his #AmazingYXE story, and we want to share it with you.  


[divider scroll_text=""] My experience at the Saskatoon Food Bank – Written by James Taylor

It's 9:00 am and it's's day to volunteer at the Saskatoon Food Bank. This is's second year helping out at the Food Bank as well as collecting donations in store. Last year, donated and distributed $33,197 to the food banks in the communities in which we operate. This was a combination of a direct contribution from and in-store donations that were collected during the holiday season.

There were 12 employees that volunteered their time to help out at the Food Bank this year. Our team was divided into groups of 4. Some of us went to the warehouse to do sorting of food products, another group went to organize donated clothes and the rest helped out in the crafts area.

The first group headed to the clothing depot. It's all based on donations; it allows people to come and get a bag of clothes and 2 household items for $2.00. The group’s job was to sort through bags of clothes, toys, books and other household goods. As they sorted, they would hang the clothes and bring them to the sales floor. One of our volunteers said, “It’s an extremely busy place, people would take things before we could fully walk through the back door.”

Over at the crafts station they had a large quantity of knick-knacks and household gadgets that they divided into two groups: kitchen supplies and personal effects. In each basket they put in either three kitchen or three personal items, wrapped it in cellophane and tied it with a bow. It was great seeing all the baskets come together with really handy items like lotions, candles, meat thermometers or wine aerators. These will work great as Christmas gifts!

In the warehouse we found many busy bodies. Our job there primarily was to sort through boxes of non-perishables and get everything to its designated location. We would also set aside any damaged products. There is an ongoing amount of work to be done in the Food Bank warehouse which is why not only are donations important, but volunteers as well are needed and much appreciated. Any little bit helps.

During our welcome, we learned about all the other community improvement programs that the Food Bank offers such as the volunteer income tax program. This is a great program that helps maximize the returns for low income earners. They also run their year round milk for children program. Milk costs are one of the most significant costs for the Food Bank which is why donations are so vital. All the programs of the Food Bank are important, however, the one that really stood out for me was the creating opportunities strategy. There are two aspects of this program. The first is where individuals who lack basic literacy, numeracy and other basic life skills can learn and improve their skills. The second is a work placement experience program. This is a lengthy program that offers individuals a chance to obtain some work experience. Most of the work would be done in the Food Bank. This creates opportunities for them to get their first aid, CPR, forklift ticket as well as learning the day to day of maintaining a job.

My overall experience at the food bank was very rewarding. When you're put into an atmosphere with those less fortunate it really puts what's important into perspective. I know everyone that volunteered took home some knowledge of how they can help out or improve the community. employs a crew that will continue to support our community and help out where needed. I encourage others to do the same.

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