Using the Pandemic to Help Give Back

by British Columbia
Categories: Blog, COVID-19, Volunteer

Using the Pandemic to Help Give Back

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it affected countless people and businesses across the world. For 26-year-old Kalvin Shum, who was working in the film industry as a lighting technician for Netflix and Amazon Prime, the pandemic completely shut down production, resulting in large layoffs. Typically, Kalvin worked 12 – 16 hour shifts, six days-a-week, so he suddenly had a lot of time on his hands. That was when he decided to spend this extra time helping those in need by returning as a volunteer with The Salvation Army.

“I think it’s healthy to volunteer and I encourage my peers to help make an impact in the lives of others too.”

In the past, after working such long shifts Kalvin volunteered to help relieve stress. He started in the kitchen at Vancouver Belkin House, where he helped cook meals for clients in the recovery program.

A few months ago a friend from church shared that The Salvation Army was needing help to handle the extra demand the pandemic had put on their programs, so Kalvin signed up at Boundless Vancouver to help with food prep, the Free Food Market and distribution of the COVID-19 Relief Hampers. Fast forward to today and Kalvin has become a regular face at Boundless, volunteering multiple times a week.

For Kalvin, volunteering on the frontlines has been a hard look at reality, seeing the different ages and demographics of those in need, ranging from seniors to young families, all affected by homelessness, poverty, and COVID-19.

He believes that by volunteering, you are able to give back to your community. “I know what it’s like to experience feelings of helplessness and loneliness, and when someone is able to provide a bit of help it really makes a world of difference.”

The diversity at Boundless Vancouver of not only clients, but also staff and volunteers is significant. Kalvin soon discovered all the different languages spoken at the Ministry Unit and enjoys how the mix of Japanese, Korean, French, German, Mandarin, and Cantonese are able to come together to help others.

“There is a grandpa in his 80’s that I volunteer alongside. He stays young by being active and if he can do it so can the younger generation.”

Kalvin encourages anyone “whether you’re a Christian or not, it feels good to simply to give back. Learn this habit early, put away time, money, or a skill set towards something that’s not for yourself, but for others”.


For more information on how you can become a volunteer with us, visit