Giving thanks and giving back: volunteers at Our Place provide “life-changing” work

Giving thanks and giving back: volunteers at Our Place provide "life-changing" work

Sylvia Walsh is one of the many volunteers who give back at Our Place Society.

“I love to meet the people here and to cheer their day up a little,” says Walsh. “It’s very satisfying,”

Dishing up this Thanksgiving feast for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable means lots of extra helping hands.

But around 700 people volunteer their time year-round at Our Place.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Our Place,” says volunteer Sandy Flower. “It’s just a wonderful place to be and I look forward to being here every day I volunteer.”

Flower comes three times a week to help serve lunch and share a smile and she says it’s incredibly rewarding.

“So much satisfaction!” says Flower. “I feel humbled every time I’m here. Every day I come I feel humbled. I’m just thankful for life, I’m thankful for being here, just thankful.”

Ninety-year-old Ruth Tuffin is also thankful she’s able to come three times a week.

“Being able to help people and compassion — and that’s a word we don’t hear very much but it’s an enormously important word — compassion,” says Tuffin.

Tuffin has been volunteering at Our Place for seven years, and for a few years at a shelter in Vancouver before that, and she says it’s life-changing.

“These last 11 years have been the most fulfilling of my whole life, which is a long life because I’ll be 91 next week,” says Tuffin.

And that’s because by giving back, these volunteers says they’re getting so much more.

“It makes me realize we’re all human beings,” says Walsh. “We’re all in it together and if we can give a helping hand, it’s a good thing.”

That helping hand is something the people who rely on Our Place are giving thanks for this Thanksgiving because the shelter couldn’t operate without all these volunteers, according to Our Place’s Don Evans.

“This facility only runs because of the volunteers we have and we’re so grateful to have that community support and all these volunteers are then champions out in the community,” says Evans.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!