Stacking shelves with soup at the Colchester Food Bank may feel like a world away from a plush lawyer’s office.
But Patterson Law’s Jennifer Hamilton Upham would rather be nowhere else, as volunteering for the United Way of Colchester County’s Day of Caring in Truro Saturday came as naturally as breathing for her.
“We love to be here,” said Hamilton Upham. “We can do things for the community that isn’t just donating funds. If you can donate your time or food, it can go a long way.”
Her team restocked shelves with foods such as canned soup and cereals, as well as planting flowers in pots around the side of the building on Prince Street to help beautify the property for the summer. Working on the gardening project was Hamilton Upham’s daughter Jacqueline, who was not afraid to get her hands dirty.
Bev Dolter, vice-chair of the food bank’s board, said her organization serves between 80 to 100 clients thrice weekly for most of the year, but the number skyrockets over Christmas.
The food bank often needs items such as tomato soup and canned milk, but it can now provide fresh vegetables to its clients from its cooler.
“We get a lot of support from people who come through our doors, as well as the companies here who are just amazing and step up all the time, which we need,” said Dolter. “We’re always thankful for it.”
United Way’s volunteer army, all donning red t-shirts with the Day of Caring logo, helped out at the food bank, Truro Homeless Outreach Society, the Lotus Centre, Maggie’s Place Family Resource Centre and the Colchester-East Hants Hospice Society, among other local service agencies.
All told, volunteers carried out 12 community projects on June 15, ranging from cleaning THOS’s shelter to painting wooden sculptures shaped as the word ‘hug’ for the hospice.
As the Patterson Law team rolled up their sleeves at the food bank, Dal AC’s volunteers were at THOS giving the shelter a thorough clean from top to bottom. This included scrubbing tables, sweeping floors and cleaning the bathroom.
Volunteer Keltie Jones said she was proud to help THOS, which provides a hot dinner, breakfast and lunch snacks for its clients, as well as a bed for the night.
“They provide an amazing service in our community, but they don’t always get the full deep clean that they need,” said Jones, who is also board chair for United Way Colchester. “This gives us a chance to get into the cracks and crevasses that aren’t always caught.”