We’re shining the spotlight on Chris, a volunteer who has been with us for 15 years!
In 2008, during an economic recession that resulted in a dramatic increase in food bank users – and before we were even called The Mississauga Food Bank (we were FoodPath until 2009!) – Chris attended an annual fundraising dinner for what would eventually become Food Banks Mississauga. It was there that he heard the statistics about the percentage of people in Mississauga living below the poverty level and requiring the services of a food bank.
“I decided to not only contribute financially to a monthly basis, but also to start volunteering my time one evening a week after working at my clinic. That was over 15 years ago and I’ve seen Food Banks Mississauga move three times since then, always to bigger warehouse space as the demand for food assistance has increased over the years.”
When Chris first started volunteering, he participated in food sorting. He then became a shift leader, guiding other volunteers through the process of sorting donated food.
“I took special interest in leading sports teams and youth groups and our younger volunteers in general to try to get them excited about volunteering and to help them see the impact they were making by coming to help us sort food.”
The Food Banks Mississauga team always knows when it’s Chris’ turn to lead a team of volunteers. Classic Rock and Top 40 hits can be heard throughout the building as Chris blasts his favourite tunes from the warehouse, making the shifts even more enjoyable for all those volunteering.
“I make sure to always have my music on and sing along to it. And it also gives me a venue to pass along the message that we have to be grateful for all that we have and to never lose sight of that.”
Just before the pandemic, Chris was a part of helping to develop our Food Bank 2 Home Delivery Program, which delivers food to homebound neighbours who are unable to travel to one of the 60+ agency members in Food Banks Mississauga’s network. Shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy, eggs, bread, and frozen food are packed in bags at our warehouse depending on what neighbours tell us they need and delivered by volunteer drivers directly to their doorsteps. The very first volunteer driver was Chris himself, and he continues to volunteer with Food Bank 2 Home to this day, four years later.
“I chose Food Banks Mississauga to volunteer at because food insecurity breaks my heart. Life is stressful enough as is. But to add the worry of how you are going to feed your family must be devastating. So any small gesture I can do to help these people gives me a sense of making a difference. And being on the front lines delivering food directly to Mississauga’s most vulnerable and seeing their appreciation has reinforced the fact that what I do at Food Banks Mississauga is making a difference in the community.”
The team at Food Banks Mississauga are big fans of Chris – for his years of passionate dedication and his ability to lead with integrity and fun. One could say we love him so much that we wanted to see his face every day… which now we can, as his smiling face is featured on one of the banners in our warehouse! A quote from Chris is displayed on this banner, reminding us all how volunteering can show us the power of monetary donations.
“I decided making a monthly donation would help increase the impact I could make to combat food insecurity in Mississauga.”
A final word from Chris:
“A quiet, unassuming act like sorting food for 2.5 hours may not feel like much, but when added together with the thousands of volunteers that help out makes a huge difference in trying to combat food insecurity in Mississauga. We are all part of a team. Everyone is an important player!”
Become a Volunteer
Inspired by Chris and his legacy of volunteering? Learn more about becoming a volunteer with Food Banks Mississauga.