Kamloops Mustard Seed New Life Community
The Kamloops Foundation team made a commitment in their 2019 Foundation Initiatives Plan to serve lunch at the Mustard Seed New Life Community (MSNLC) in downtown Kamloops. On Thursday, April 4, 2019, they had their first opportunity to volunteer with the organization.
“We kicked off the event for Kamloops businesses,” says Lisa Bruvold, administrative assistant for the Kamloops branch and secretary on the Urban Systems Foundation Board of Directors. “Local television and radio stations were on-site to help bring awareness about the meal service program at the MSNLC to other businesses in Kamloops.”
With a donation specified by the MSNLC, a business organization or group can sponsor a lunch and have up to 10 volunteers prepare and serve it to the MSNLC guests. Participation includes opportunities to connect with guests and have a tour of the Outreach Centre.
“We are so excited to have these community leaders make a commitment to sponsor meals,” said Diane Down, managing director of the MSNLC. “This kind of support and hands-on care is not only a way to meaningfully support and encourage our Outreach Centre guests, but in many ways, is transformational to community organizations and business leaders who come to serve.”
Diane went on to say that “this meaningful engagement… is a tremendous blessing to our guests, who not only receive a great meal, but are served by people in our community who are showing, through their presence, that they care.”
The MSNLC has been providing outreach and poverty relief services in Kamloops since 1980. Their aim is to provide a calm environment with “someone to lean on” and where guests “feel welcomed and part of an extended family”. This non-profit social service community operates a variety of programs in five locations. Their work involves “ministering to the whole person, which includes the spiritual, physical, emotional, and social needs of the individual”.
Bud Smith has volunteered for similar organizations in the past, and on this occasion, crossed paths with someone he knew from another chapter in life.
“A Mustard Seed guest called me by name,” says Bud. “When I spoke with him, he knew me from my time in public life, and I knew him as a successful business person. I realized how short the journey is from where he was to where he is, and how by the Grace of God, there goes any one of us. It reminded me how privileged I am, and how being able to help out, even a tiny bit, induces a sense of gratitude.”
Cherie Boyd has also volunteered for similar organizations. She likes having the opportunity to learn more about the guests, and how these kinds of programs help them.
“I appreciate hearing guests share their own life experiences, which are invaluable to helping others experiencing the same situations,” says Cherie. “I was reminded of how extremely challenging it is to administrate and operate these facilities and run organizations that are solely reliant on grants, funding and donations from the general public. It was, and is, a humbling and rewarding experience to give of myself to others who are less fortunate.”
This event provided a new opportunity for Jen Adair, and she felt grateful to participate in the meal service.
“This was my first, and definitely not my last, experience of volunteering with a program like the Mustard Seed meal service. I enjoy helping my community in many ways, but hadn’t yet done something like this. One highlight for me was seeing the students volunteering their community time at the Mustard Seed. I was very nervous at the start, especially being out in front, but I absolutely loved serving the meal – chicken – the best part, of course! The ‘thank you’ and smiles were so rewarding for me.”
Lindsay Tithecott agrees with others on the value of volunteering in this environment.
“Having the opportunity to serve someone a meal is such a personal experience,” says Lindsay. “While filling plates, we laughed a lot with each other and the guests. It was a humbling and grounding experience that reached through our differences, connecting us.”
Other volunteers included Nathan Johnson, Matt Smith, Pam Robertson, Trudi McClelland and Kate Kalnin.
The MSNLC says that donating just a little bit of time (even on just one occasion) can help redirect someone’s life onto a path of change. One small gesture can produce a powerfully positive outcome.
“We are impressed with the work of the Mustard Seed New Life Community and their compassion and service for those who need a little extra help,” says Lisa. “Our company knows how a vibrant community can lead to great momentum and people flourishing. Ensuring everyone is supported and given a chance to make an impact is important, and if we can share that message through meal sponsorship, we are so pleased to do so.”
The Foundation volunteers from the Kamloops branch will be volunteering three more times in 2019. Find out how the MSNLC has positively impacted lives: read Success Stories.