Jean, Kitchen Volunteer

Acrylic on canvas, 16x16in - 2022

After 40 years as a counsellor and social worker, Jean began volunteering in the kitchen at The Ottawa Mission, helping to prepare and serve meals, which she has done for the past several years. She works alongside Jack, Lulu, Dorothy and Silvia.

Serving people in need holds a special place in Jean’s heart. “At first, many clients are reluctant to even make eye contact with volunteers and staff. Overtime, they come to trust you. Sharing a smile with someone who likely doesn’t get a lot of people smiling at them is an uplifting experience. I’m very grateful.”

One time as Jean was returning home from the shelter, still wearing her Mission Volunteer t-shirt, she was approached by a young man, who told her that he had been a client at The Mission, and his life had turned around, working full-time and with his own place. He wanted Jean to know that her volunteer work matters.