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On Sunday, January 26, several Ashton College staff members volunteered their time and services to help out the dinner shift at the Vancouver Harbour Light Centre on East Cordova.
The Vancouver Harbour Light Centre is part of The Salvation Army and offers a variety of services to the residents of The Downtown Eastside including: a drop in centre, emergency shelters, detox and treatment services, as well as, food services and community outreach.
The Vancouver Harbour Light Centre has been operational since 1953 and serves meals twice a day, every day of the week. Ashton College staff were responsible for clearing trays and plates in addition to wiping down tables.
“So many people take life for granted – we think we’re having a bad day but really, we should be putting ourselves in other people’s shoes – we should be lucky that we have a roof over our heads and are able to afford groceries. I think it’s really great that The Salvation Army and other organizations are able to provide meals to those less fortunate on such an ongoing basis.” Rachael Zapp, Ashton College Event Coordinator, said of her time volunteering.
Given the reputation of “Canada’s poorest postal code,” it is amazing that the Harbour Light centre can offer two meals a day to Vancouver’s (often times) most neglected people. In 2011, their Food Distribution Program collected donations from almost 90 donors; these donations had a value of over $1.9 million. In return, the Program redistributed over $900,000 worth of food donations to approximately 80 community service providers located throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver Island.
Without the help of community sponsors and volunteers, organizations like the Vancouver Harbour Light Centre would not be able continue the good work that they do. They are always accepting food donations from the community and are currently in need of meat and dairy products, vegetarian proteins, and coffee.
“It was a great experience. I would do this again without doubt,” said Ashton College President, Colin Fortes. Volunteering is a great way for companies and employees to give back to the community. Volunteering not only strengthens the relationship between co-workers, but it allows them to learn new and valuable skills while helping those in need.
To learn more about how you can give back, visit Vancouver Harbour Light’s website at: http://www.harbourlightbc.com/index.php/how-to-support-us/volunteer-opportunities.