By: June Li
With Thanksgiving approaching, The Gateway in Toronto was serving Thanksgiving dinner to members of the community. An opportunity came up and I was asked to volunteer. Living in Toronto myself, I was excited to provide hands-on assistance to those most vulnerable living in the community I grew up in. Having not volunteered in recent years, I was also nervous and found myself thinking, ‘Do I have the right skills?’, and ‘Will I slow them down”?
When I arrived at the shelter, I was greeted with warm smiles and my nervousness quickly diminished. The volunteer team was asked to prepare the tables for dinner and serve meals to those attending. Having worked for The Salvation Army for over a year, I am aware that many people across the GTA live in poverty and are faced with food insecurity. What I didn’t expect was how I would feel when I met these people. These are people from all walks of life, old, young, mothers and grandparents. These are people who may not have eaten the entire day, or for a week. And sadly, this was the reality of many people in that room.
As we began to serve Thanksgiving dinner, I realized how grateful everyone was. Even with the hardships they are faced with every day, they were thankful for a warm meal and a smiling face.
In our day to day lives, we often become consumed with our routine of the everyday hustle and bustle. But, it is important to take some time and take a step back. No matter your age, skill set, gender or race, your help can make a difference in someone’s life. Whether it is once a week or once a month, a few hours of your time can help spread happiness to those vulnerable around you. To learn how to get involved, please visit http://www.salvationarmy.ca/volunteer/get-involved/.