Fort York Food Bank. Annual Open House. 21 November 2018.

Volunteer Profile

The Lunch Sisters
Shawna McPeek and Paula Quinn

FYFB Connects caught up with culinary queens Shawna McPeek and Paula Quinn as they prepared Saturday lunch for 180 FYFB clients. In her day job, Shawna is a producer at John Street, a Toronto advertising agency. Paula works with developmentally challenged young people. Here's what they had to say about their work with FYFB.

What is your role as an FYFB volunteer?

Every other Saturday Paula and I come in and prepare lunch. It gives Ken (the regular cook) a day off.

Shawna: I took a culinary course at George Brown and this gives me a great chance to practice. Don't get me wrong, we're not making French cuisine here but we're making good, healthy, fresh food.

Paula: The clients appreciate that we're not feeding them powered potatoes and that we always make sure there's a nice fresh salad on offer.

Shawna: Every week that we're here, I visit the freezers and select the meat for the next time. Then I go home and plan the menu around that meat. This week it's ham with a cherry glaze. To go with it we have mashed potatoes, cabbage, corn, green beans, salad and bread.

Paula: Last time there wasn't a traditional meat but there was bacon and sausages so we planned a big pancake breakfast. It was fantastic - everyone enjoyed breakfast but it's very challenging to serve breakfast to 180 people almost all at once.

What's a moment from volunteering at FYFB that will always stick with you?

Both: The funniest thing that ever happened was a client who asked us how we knew each other. When we said we were sisters, she replied "Oh, so you're nuns." We laughed and laughed and couldn't help making up a convent!

What do you take away from volunteering with FYFB?

Over the years we've seen clients come and go and some have even passed on. It's sobering to realize how important the food bank is in people's lives. It makes you grateful for what you have and grateful that you're in a position to help others.

Why should others consider volunteering with FYFB?

Volunteering with an organization like FYFB is addicting - you try to leave but they keep pulling you back in! It's like a job but it's a job that you want to come to. When clients at FYFB say 'thank you' it's really a meaningful 'thank you.'

On behalf of everyone at FYFB, we want to thank you for your contributions to the organization.

Volunteer orientation sessions are held at 2:00pm on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Click here to register online or drop by the Food Bank for more information.

photography courtesy of Claire Del Net

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