Tag Archives: Volunteer

A beautiful smile makes it all worthwhile: Why Linda volunteers

Linda is a kind and thoughtful person who has been volunteering in The Ottawa Mission’s kitchen for the past 16 months. In this role, she’s completed a variety of tasks, including buttering bread and cutting buns, making sandwiches, serving coffee in the morning to clients, wrapping cutlery for individual servings (a continuing Covid19 precaution), and serving beverages and desserts to clients at lunchtime. Linda volunteers once a week.

As a retired occupational therapist and a people person, a main draw of volunteering in The Mission’s kitchen is the opportunity to interact with people such as other kitchen volunteers and Mission staff. “The Mission staff and volunteers are very friendly. I look forward to coming here for my shift,” Linda notes.

Most rewarding of all for Linda is her interaction with the clients she serves. “Clients have gratitude and are very thankful for the help they receive. It seems counterintuitive since clients are homeless, but I’ve seen so many beautiful smiles on the faces of clients since I’ve started here.”

Linda has also noticed the disproportionate burden of homelessness that people from racialized backgrounds bear as she serves clients. “They are overrepresented and disadvantaged,” she notes.

In the spring of 2020, The Mission’s Board of Directors developed and confirmed a statement on anti-Black racism. This statement notes that “Jesus made it clear that one of the reasons he was sent by God was to ‘set the oppressed free’ (Luke 4:18). In our commitment to transition those we serve to wholeness, here at the Ottawa Mission we are privileged to come alongside a wide diversity of people including an increasing number of Black individuals who benefit from our services.” The Mission was one of the first agencies in Ottawa to issue such a statement. It builds on our commitment to unconditional acceptance and respect for all clients we serve regardless of background, which is reflective in many of our programs, for example, our country food feast and specialized counselling for Indigenous clients.

Your generosity ensures many smiles on the faces of our clients as well as a sense of dignity and belonging to all who turn to us for help. Through your donations and your volunteer engagement with clients, you provide warmth and inclusion. Thank you so much for your kindness and caring.

Building A Relationship Of Kindness

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.” Matthew 14:19

Greg Huyer and Scott Rufolo met in England over 20 years ago after moving to Cambridge, Scott from the US and Greg from Canada. After finishing their studies in the UK, they moved to Baltimore, Maryland where Scott pursued a doctorate and Greg worked as a biomedical researcher. It was while living in downtown Baltimore that the couple regularly encountered people living on the streets and in local parks. Daily dog walks became opportunities for conversation with many homeless individuals.

“Encountering homelessness on a daily basis inspired us to act,” Greg says, “so we became involved in a program at our church called ‘Loaves and Fishes’ to prepare and serve food to the homeless in the inner city.” Greg and Scott moved to Ottawa 14 years ago. Their concern for the homeless continued once they settled here, and so Scott and Greg approached The Ottawa Mission as volunteers.

“We wanted to do something to help, and The Mission was an obvious fit,” Scott recalls. Greg began, as so many volunteers do, in the kitchen. Scott offered his support as a tutor with Stepping Stones. “We also became regular donors along the way. Our time as volunteers showed us how dedicated the staff at The Mission are, and how much of a difference The Mission makes in so many people’s lives.”

Scott and Greg have generously contributed a leadership gift to support the expansion of The DYMON Health Clinic, as well as a charitable gift in their wills. “We’re extremely fortunate to be in a position to support The Mission financially and we’re grateful for the relationship that we’ve built with The Mission over the years.” The Mission and its guests are eternally grateful for the generous support of kind donors like Greg and Scott. Thank you both!

If you would like more information, please contact Angie Kelly, Director, Major and Planned Giving at 613.234.1155 x 426 or by email at akelly@ottawamission.com.