Steve’s path took him from a strong spiritual background to one where he just couldn’t find comfort any longer in God. He describes a period in his life when he felt most alone, helpless and lost.

When I lost everything, my place became ripped from underneath me. Everything happened at once. I lost it all. My dad passed and my mom went shortly after that. My partner left me almost at the same time. At that point I didn’t feel alive anyway. I had nothing to live for anymore.

I got angry and belligerent and acted badly. Nothing mattered. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. I wanted to take control of my own life. I spent about a year living on the street. It was really bad. I prayed to go “home.”

Then, after a time immersed in a drug-induced numbing, Steve began to recognize that the answers to a better life were already within him. No longer seeking excuses from his outside world, he began to search within.

I started to ask the right questions: “Why did she actually leave me?” “What am I doing to cause these troubles?” “What can I do to change?”

I changed the way I look at the world. I knew that the answers were already inside of me. I started to take responsibility for my own behaviours.

Steve now attends regular AA meetings and makes sure to be involved in reaching out to others who need support.

I have so much knowledge and experience to share with others. I don’t want young people to go through the same things that I went through. I can be helpful by staying creative and seeking ways of breaking through roadblocks when they arise.

I’m here for a long time to come. I have learned that it’s definitely not my time to go “home.” I have a strong spiritual connection now and engage with others. I wish I’d been on this track throughout my life, but I suppose I’ve had to learn it the hard way.

Like Steve…let’s all just keep talking… it does get better.

Position: Food Bank and Community Garden Coordinator
Reporting: Executive Director
Terms of Employment:
• 20 hours per week, with potential additional hours in garden season, based on funding
• Overtime hours taken in lieu after one hour per week as approved by the Executive Director
• Probationary period of 3 months
Skills and Qualifications:
• Excellent communication skills
• Ability to lift 40 pounds and conduct physical activity
• Ability to work in a team environment
• Ability to supervise staff and volunteers in the Food Bank and Community Garden
• Be organized, creative, flexible, focused and calm at all times
• Valid Driver’s License, Food Safe, WIMS
Roles and Responsibilities:
• Establish and maintain the annual budget for the Food Bank, Soup Socials and Community Garden, in collaboration with the Executive Director and Treasuer
• Solicit, interview, train, schedule, supervise and celebrate volunteers
• Ensure that the food bank has adequate supplies of food
• Keep statistics and prepare reports on the Hunger Count
• Establish working relationships with suppliers
• Organize with the distribution of food at the Food Bank
• Organize weekly stocktaking, ordering of food and supplies all within the budget
• Organize food store which may include heavy lifting
• Develop quarterly food distribution plans to be approved by the Executive Director and assist fundraising staff and volunteers to solicit appropriate donations to meet the food plans
• Assist with kitchen duties as required and ensure kitchen is organized, clean and passes VIHA inspections
• Ensure Food Safe practices are followed
• Make certain that new clients are made welcome, interviewed and given orientation on the policies and procedures of PHC and the Food Bank and keep the forms updated
• Organize full clean up (inside and outside) after Soup Social and Food Bank days including compost, recycling and garbage disposal
• Securely lock Food bank building, freezers, cisterns and other mechanical equipment necessary for Food Bank or Community Garden operation
• Ensure generators are turned on during power outages to reduce food spoilage
• Be a team player including a willingness to do a wide variety of jobs and take direction from others
• Maintain electronic up to date lists of volunteers
• Ensure people are available and coordinated to pick up food donations in Nanaimo
• Coordinate maintenance schedule of all equipment including fridges, freezers and other mechanical equipment necessary for the Food Bank or Community Garden
• Coordinate garden planning, schedule volunteers for garden planting, ensure ongoing volunteer schedule for watering and weeding of community garden
• Participate in the planning and construction of additional garden beds, planters and greenhouses as approved in the budget
• Instruct and support clients, students and volunteers, as required in organic gardening practices
• Attend monthly staff meetings and professional development as approved by the Executive Director
• Demonstrate professionalism and maintain client confidentiality at all times
• Participate in building networks of supporters for the program thoughout the community
• Follow all PHC policies
• Act in a respectful manner towards all PHC staff, clients, volunteers and PHC Board members
• Report to the Executive Director on program status and achievements
• Report to the Executive Director and assist with the fund development and reporting
Remuneration: $15 to 20/hour

It was a great day to be out in the garden – our PHC beds are growing so fast! we have had the first batch of radishes – enough for over 50 families!  Thank you to everyone who has given us starters or seeds. The client volunteers are very enthusiastic and everyone is enjoying the weather, the hard work and the friendships. … and oh yes the food too.

Today a young woman from Slocan BC visited the Gardens, we were able to share with her how we started, all the different groups involved,  how the food we grow helps our families and extends our food budget. It was great to have her visit -   a work day in the Kootenays anyone?

The raffle tickets for the Judith Madsen painting went like hotcakes at the Community Market on Saturday. Interest in the Home and Garden Tour is building, with people beginning to  put aside the June 22 date. Tickets for the Tour are available at Art Works, and at both Wild Rose and Wheelbarrow  Garden Centres.

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Suicide Matters

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