As National Volunteer Week continues, we’d like to introduce you to two more awesome Tolko volunteers – Claire Denesiuk and Norm Day.
Claire is Transportation Coordinator, Transportation and Norm is Manager, Business Systems, both based out of Tolko’s head office in Vernon, BC. We recently asked them why they got involved with the Starfish Pack program and what they enjoy most about volunteering.
About the Starfish Pack program
The Starfish Pack program began during the 2013-2014 school year after teachers in the Abbotsford, BC area observed that many of their students were coming to class Monday morning hungry, reporting that they had not eaten a nourishing meal over the weekend. Today, the program is now running in 22 school districts throughout BC. Every week, volunteers pack nutritious food into little backpacks while other volunteers deliver these packs to various schools throughout the community.
CC: When did you first start volunteering with the Starfish Pack initiative and why?
CLAIRE: I first heard about the Starfish Pack program when Tolko put out a request for packers each week at the beginning of the 2017/18 school year. I soon recognized what a great program it is and knew that it would benefit kids in my community.
NORM: I just started volunteering in September 2017. My kids are growing up, and so now I had some more free time to give back to other kids who are less fortunate.
CC: What is your involvement with this initiative? What is your role?
CLAIRE: I pick up empty backpacks at the Tolko Lavington mill Wednesday nights (which is right next door to the Lavington Elementary school) and I deliver back full ones Thursday night for the kids to take home Friday for the weekend.
I pick up empty backpacks on Thursday morning from Lumby’s elementary school for packing Thursday morning and drop off full backpacks on Friday morning for kids to take home.
CC: What is the most rewarding part about being a part of the Starfish Pack charity initiative?
CLAIRE: For me, the most rewarding part of this program is that it reaches students in the local communities where we live and work. Lavington is a small community and it’s good to see these programs extend to rural communities.
NORM: Knowing that kids less fortunate will have some nutritious food to take home to last them through the weekend is what makes this so rewarding for me.
CC: What would you say or recommend to anyone else interested in becoming a volunteer?
CLAIRE: Everyone’s lives are so busy these days that it may seem hard to find time to volunteer, but when such a meaningful opportunity comes up that fits into our schedules it is worth the time and effort.
NORM: If you have the time, volunteer locally for causes that you believe in, you will be able to see for yourself just how much of a positive difference your involvement makes in the community.
About National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. Join Volunteer Canada and Investors Group April 15-21, 2018 to recognize the contributions of volunteers in our communities. This year’s theme is: “Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community”.
This week, we’re recognizing several of our Tolko employees for the amazing and selfless volunteer work they do in their communities. Volunteers give their time, skills, experience, and passion to help others, without expecting anything in return. And while volunteering is a form of service, many volunteers will tell you that “you get more than you give”. The magic of volunteering is that it creates social and economic value for all.