Hello! My name is Christine and I have been a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) placement student with the Parkdale Food Centre since the beginning of September 2016.
It became clear to me on my first day of working at PFC that, in the words of Dorothy; “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore”! The Food Centre broke the mold I was comfortable working in. You see, I came to this placement with more than a decade of experience working in the field of social services, most recently food security. Although I was very comfortable working from a person-centred approach, I never have been in a place where the volunteers, staff and clients are blended so well that you can’t tell who is who on most days. Yes, there are name tags for volunteers but neighbours (clients) are also volunteers, so it is normal to see them in leadership roles. Though this approach to service was new to me, I have adapted and can comfortably say I wouldn’t work in food security with any other approach than the one used here at PFC. Simply, the people receiving the services need to be involved in the creation and running of them. No one knows what they and their families need better than the person coming to the Food Centre for services. It makes sense that they are the ones in the kitchen helping to cook and clean and they are the ones stocking the shelves and helping their neighbours shop for their monthly allotment of groceries.
In my short stint at Parkdale, I think my heart has been opened as well as my mind. I look at things from a glass half full perspective now as this is how I see the team’s (neighbours, volunteers and staff) approach is here. No one is alone when they walk through Parkdale’s doors. There is a team waiting to meet you where you are at and get you to where you want to go, all the while helping you to have a full belly of healthy food that always has an extra serving of love added to it.
To donate to the Parkdale Food Centre, please click here.