Each week Hutton House participants Henry and James meet at the Salvation Army food bank to volunteer.
Henry and James are part of the Hutton House Access Voluntarism program that assists individuals with disabilities in finding and completing volunteer work in the London community.
“I like being out in the community. It’s good that we’re here, because without volunteers there would be no one to fill the bags,” said Henry. Over the past 10 years Henry has also volunteered at Storybook Gardens and Habitat for Humanity.
“I like to see people and talk to my friends,” James said. Both he and Henry volunteer two hours per week at the Salvation Army. In addition to packing the food bags, they check expiry labels and restock food bins. Their pride at helping others shines through as they discuss their roles.
Each year Hutton House participants complete approximately 17,000 hours of community service. The Salvation Army Centre of Hope is one of 45 different community organizations to benefit from this service, along with others such as the Ontario Early Years Centres, several elementary schools and over 10 branches of the London Public Library.
“When the Access Voluntarism program began, we never dreamed we would be contributing this many hours to the community,” said Jeanette Dutot, manager of community services at Hutton House. “But participants love being a part of their community and giving back.”
Kevin O’Neil, community services assistant manager at the Salvation Army, said partner agencies are thrilled to have Hutton House volunteers. After all, not only do they fill important roles in each organization they assist, they inspire those they work with.
“We all develop a certain affection for these great people. Their ability to overcome adversity and work alongside us in attaining our shared goal of alleviating poverty is truly inspiring,” O’Neil said. “When recruiting volunteers, we look for professionalism, character, dedication, and reliability — all of which are demonstrated by Hutton House volunteers on a daily basis.”
Hutton House matches participants with community agencies based on their interests and availability.
Individuals interested in becoming involved should expect to complete a volunteer readiness orientation session. Topics include what it means to be a volunteer, and what is expected of each individual.
For more information, visit www.huttonhouse.com/access-voluntarism.
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