I am now six months into my role here at the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, and I can’t express how amazed I am at the dedication, compassion, and care provided by our hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers. At a recent community forum, I was asked how long the Food Bank would last without volunteers. My answer of “about eight minutes” may have sounded like hyperbole, but it really wasn’t; we couldn’t do a fraction of what we do in our community were it not for the incredible dedication and generosity of our volunteers.

Last year our Co-op Members and Community Volunteers logged over 26,000 hours of volunteer time. Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend such a large number, but if we break it down, I know that each one of those hours represents a donation not only of time, but of hospitality, care, and compassion to a neighbour and fellow member of our community. What an incredible gift you provide day in and day out!

I know that not every day is easy, and that not every interaction provides you with the thanks you so richly deserve. But I know from what I see, and from what I hear and read from people we serve, that your efforts are deeply appreciated. You hold a space for everyone in our community to be served respectfully, kindly, and free of judgement. Please know that your contributions are never lost on all of us here.

As we head into this holiday season, I’m reminded of a line from A Christmas Carol when Scrooge is approached about a donation towards the less fortunate: “We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.” At the Food Bank this holiday season – and all seasons – we see people struggling through many challenges. We are so fortunate that so many in our community step forward to share their abundance – and this is no more true than the abundance of time and caring service shared by our volunteers.

I wish you all a happy and joyous holiday season, and a new year filled with blessings.

With gratitude for all you do,

Cameron Dearlove
Executive Director