Helping others a family affair
'I think we all have a responsibility to give back to the community'
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This article was published 02/10/2017 (2064 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Like so many other organizations, Main Street Project relies heavily on volunteers.
“Without our volunteers, we would struggle a lot to provide the opportunities that we’re able to provide right now,” says Lisa Hunt, volunteer and community relations co-ordinator at the downtown organization.
The agency offers a variety of programs and services for people who are homeless or have an addiction.
Volunteers work alongside frontline staff to build relationships with the people who walk through the doors.
One of those volunteers is Lisa’s mother, Therasa Hunt, who helps with the food bank on Thursdays.
Therasa greets people, and helps them find their Winnipeg Harvest food kit and any additional food that is available.
Therasa, a retired communications professional who lives in St. Vital, appreciates volunteering at the agency because it gives her insight into what it means to live in poverty.
“I think we all have a responsibility to give back to the community,” the 56-year-old says. “When I see people come in who need food to survive, it’s very meaningful to me to be able to help them, even in just a really small way.”
Hannah Shin started volunteering at the agency so she could see how the community is helping those in need.
“I (researched) different ways I could learn about community health, especially (for) those who are vulnerable and overlooked by society,” says Shin, who is taking a year off from her anthropology studies at the University of Victoria.
“I thought, what better way to serve than with Main Street Project?”
The 32-year-old volunteers for two hours, three times a week.
She helps out at the emergency shelter, as well as at Mainstay and the Bell Hotel, the agency’s transitional living residences.
“I’m just dabbling in a little bit of everything,” Shin says. “My main interest is pursuing my master’s in public health, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn about community health.
“I find it rewarding (to interact) with people who are often neglected by society,” she says.
Therasa says she appreciates the agency’s housing first philosophy: clients who struggle with substance abuse do not need to receive treatment before receiving housing and support services.
“It’s just a more practical, realistic approach,” Therasa says. “That makes a big difference to me.”
Main Street Project is looking for more volunteers to assist at the drop-in shelter during the day, hand out hygiene products and harm-reduction supplies and run activities such as bingo and karaoke.
“We’re really looking to have lots of people available for community members to connect with,” Lisa says. “We can always use extra hands and a bit more help around here.”
Application forms are available at mainstreetproject.ca/support/volunteer. For inquiries, call 204-982-8242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know a special volunteer, please contact email@example.com.
Updated on Monday, October 2, 2017 8:31 AM CDT: Adds photo