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Finding Meaning in Volunteering

Vince, a former police officer, volunteers every week at the Good Food Centre.

Vince grew up in a low-income family, which was one reason why he wanted to give back to other families fighting poverty. But as he also says, “volunteering is good for me. it’s good for my soul.”

“I think everyone should have food in their fridge and a warm place to sleep,” Vince says after one of his weekly volunteer shifts at Mission Services’ Good Food Centre. Every Wednesday, Vince comes to the Good Food Centre for a three-hour shift where he helps families who are low-income select an emergency supply of food.

“When I go back to work and tell my employees about how many families we served at the food centre, they are shocked,” explains Vince. “We often find it hard to believe that people are struggling in our own city with problems like homelessness,” he says, “but it’s true.”
Before he started volunteering at the Good Food Centre, Vince knew that poverty was a problem in his hometown. He came from a low-income family himself and worked as a police officer for twelve years. During that time he saw first-hand how homelessness and poverty could potentially affect anyone.

Today Vince owns an insurance company in Burlington. He encourages his employees to give back by matching their donations for dress-down Fridays. He’s also challenging two nearby insurance companies to a friendly competition to see who can raise more. The winner will get a free lunch for their staff served by the losing team. Vince says the friendly competition gets people engaged.

Vince stocking the produce aisle at Mission Services’ Good Food Centre.

“I nearly became homeless during my early twenties when my father disappeared and left me on my own,” Vince adds. “Personal circumstances play such a big role in whether a personal crisis turns into an experience with homelessness. I feel like I know what that means, which is why I plan to volunteer with Mission Services for as long as they need my help.”