University of Calgary

Comfort food

UToday HomeJanuary 15, 2013

A couple of dozen staff from Facilities Management and Development (FMD) volunteered to make sandwiches and serve lunch to hundreds of hungry clients at the Mustard Seed’s Foothills Shelter last month.

It’s the third year that FMD staff have headed to the Foothills location to help. This year 20 people signed up to assist, almost double the number who came out last year.

“I love it,” says Charles Hunt, a groundskeeper in Facilities Management. “I’ve done charity work before and I’ve always found that if you do something without the expectation of some personal gain, it’s always a rewarding experience, it always pays off.”

Hunt was happy to work in the kitchen for a few hours before his afternoon shift. “Some of us can’t give a lot of money, so you can give time. It’s not that hard. I always get a lot out of it,” says Hunt.

FMD assistant Angelina Nair was another employee who happily volunteered her time. She also found it a great way to spend a few hours.

“It may seem we’re just standing there buttering rolls, but we are actually making a difference, we’re actually giving back to the community,” she says. “Being in that environment where people are coming in to get food is very touching.”

This year, enough FMD volunteers signed up that they could cover two shifts. The first shift was responsible for preparing food and condiments and the second shift served lunch and bagged lunches for Mustard Seed clients to take to work the next day. FMD employees also donated clothing, personal hygiene items, food and other items to the Mustard Seed.

“The opportunity to give to such a worthy cause, and to hopefully ease the need, is truly a blessing,” says Jennifer Schaffer with FMD’s Talent Acquisition Management who helped organize the day. “We were all grateful to contribute as a team and look forward to volunteering next year.”

The Mustard Seed’s goal is it to bring about positive changes for their clients and ultimately help them obtain and sustain a place of their own with the continued support of their counselors.

“It was a good experience and I will definitely do it every year,” says Nair. “It makes you realize how lucky we are and you should never take anything for granted.”

Learn more about the Mustard Seed.