When you have been doing something for 24 years, it would be impossible to suggest that the experience hasn’t effected or changed your life. When I began as a warehouse manager back in 1993, I was literally looking for a job and not in any way thinking it would be a career. It didn’t take long however, to appreciate how important a service the food bank was and in very short order I realized this was more of a calling for me than a job.
“It has taught me to care more, be more, do more and live more.”
Being a working musician for the most part prior to joining the food bank, I had always had a more liberal mindset and very interested in social justice and frankly had a personal understanding of poverty even if it was more “by choice” than by circumstances.
In my new “job” I got to know the people we served and heard their stories and learned how fragile our financial lives can be and how prejudice and lack of opportunity can tear people apart. It was through their stories that galvanized my commitment our service and I actually looked forward to going to work every day to do what I could to help.
After six years in the warehouse I was asked to apply for the role of Executive Director and I jumped at the chance to be more involved. This is the point when life for me really changed and made me “up my game” for the new challenges ahead. The skills that I had to develop and the experiences in my own life that I had to draw from all came together in this new role, and the learning curve was enormous. Not long after being the E.D. I was asked to sit on the Board of the OAFB and within a year I was elected to the Chair. Little did I know that the organization was “flying by the seat of its pants” and was bleeding money daily with next to nothing coming in.
Much the same as a band comes together to play music as one cohesive unit I was blessed by having an incredible team on that Board to help me through those dark days of recovery. Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Kitchener and Kingston “banded” together and spent the next six years [2002-2008] rebuilding the OAFB and I think we all feel great pride in seeing how well established and operated it is to this day.
Being a “food banker” has made me who I am today, for better or worse. It has taught me to care more, be more, do more and live more. It has given this old cynic a lens to see that when people come together they can accomplish some incredible things.
Submitted by Partners in Mission Food Bank Link opens a new window as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.