A Place to Call Home

A photo of Xavier at the Food Bank
by juneli
Categories: Divisional News

By: June Li

When Xavier came to Canada from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, he was lost and alone. With many of his friends and family over 6,000 kilometres away, home never felt further away.  One day, he decided to volunteer at The Salvation Army Cedarbrae Community Church food bank in Scarborough, Ontario. Through the act of giving back, Xavier has found a second home. “I have to say volunteering is nothing less than fantastic and it feels like home,” says Xavier.

Though it may not be visible, hunger and poverty plague nearly every postal code in Toronto. “This volunteer opportunity has opened my eyes to see that there is a real need in the community,” explains Xavier. In just Toronto alone, there were nearly 1 million food bank visits last year, a 14% increase since 2008. Volunteers like Xavier who help manage our food bank operations are essential in bridging and connecting our donations to the homes of hungry families and individuals. “Our food bank clients are people just like you and me,” says Xavier, “I treat all of them with dignity, respect, compassion, and they appreciate our sincerity.”

Not only has volunteering helped Xavier realize the needs of those in his community; it also gave him a place where he felt like he belonged. For Xavier, The Salvation Army Cedarebrae Community Church has become his home away from home. “The diversity, the homely feeling as well as the welcoming nature of all the volunteers and staff makes the experience feel like a home away from home,” he says.

Through volunteering, Xavier also found fellowship, compassion and faith. “This place is more than just a building, it’s a place where I feel that I am cared for,” says Xavier. With support and encouragement from Senthil Kumaran, the Family Services Worker, Xavier was able to find hope and light through many stressful personal situations. Today, he feels at peace.

“I am proud not only to be a volunteer but I am grateful that I am able to serve the community by God’s grace.”