Looking for the chance to make a difference in someone’s life? Well then the Salvation Army might just be looking for you.
Angeline Street is the volunteer co-ordinator at the Salvation Army in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
She says the organization needs volunteers in just about every capacity.
The Salvation Army operates a food bank, soup kitchen and thrift store in Parksville. There is also a store in Qualicum Beach.
The organization is also looking for people to help with annual volunteer events like the food drive, and the Christmas kettles.
Street says the need for volunteers is urgent. There are a variety of positions available in the different branches, from donation sorters to personal shoppers, to drivers, servers, dishwashers and greeters.
“If we don’t have volunteers, then we can’t provide the services. And somebody’s going to go hungry. And I think that’s really sad. We have the power to make sure that people in our community are cared for and fed,” said Street.
“We just need people to step up and help us continue to do that.”
Street says there is quite a bit of need in the Parksville community. Many people rely on the food bank, and not just those experiencing homeless or addiction.
“The Salvation Army serves single moms with kids. It serves the working poor – those people that are working their bums off for minimum wage, not getting very many hours, paying huge rent, and just really struggling to buy groceries or feed themselves each day. It’s low income seniors, it’s lonely seniors who have no family, no friends. This is their social contact, going to the soup kitchen. They come for lunch, they chat, they feel seen,” said Street.
Volunteering can be a powerful and rewarding experience. Street says there’s a real sense of community among the volunteers. Volunteering can also lead to connections in unexpected ways.
“We have a couple that met at the soup kitchen, and they just got married recently! They were both volunteers, and they fell in love,” said Street.
There’s no time commitment – volunteers can work as little as one shift a month, or sign up to work on a short-term basis. There are also positions available for those with mobility issues. Children ages 12 – 15 can volunteer if accompanied by an adult, and teenagers 15 to 18 can come on their own as long as they have parental permission.
The shifts are scheduled through an online portal called Volunteer Hub, so volunteers can go online and shop around for shifts that they’re interested in.
“It makes you feel good. You’re helping somebody bigger than yourself. And it’s your opportunity to change somebody else’s life,” said Street.
Anyone interested in learning more can head to www.parksvillesalvationarmy.ca/opportunities.