When Lake Country student Madeline Muir was thinking about topics for a speech project in her Grade 6 class at Davidson Road elementary, she had zeroed in on a topic she thought would work.
The assignment was to write something that would promote positive change in the world. Then spring break arrived and everything changed.
Over the two week holiday from class, Muir’s mother Connie decided to take her kids to volunteer at the Lake Country Food Bank, responding to an ad that volunteers were needed.
When Connie, Madeline and brother Malcolm showed up at the food bank, they were asked to help out at the food bank’s thrift store and its planned new location on Berry Road.
And the focus of Madeline’s speech about making positive change in a community changed with her experience at the food bank.
“It was supposed to be a topic that was close to our heart,” said Madeline, who spent a large part of her spring break helping to stock shelves and get the thrift store ready. “We worked from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. I was so tired but I couldn’t wait to go back. The people there were so kind and I felt really good doing it, knowing that I was helping people. I knew in my heart they really appreciated our help.”
Back and forth Madeline and her family went over spring break as they caught the volunteering bug, heading in to help move the thrift store from the food bank to an actual store-front.
After working for most of the two week spring break, Madeline returned to class with her completed project and presented it to her classmates.
“How it works is tons of amazing people donate their items, then the thrift store sells them, and finally all the proceeds are given to the food bank,” Madeline wrote in her speech that she read to the volunteers at the food bank and to her classmates at Davidson Road (where she received 94/100 for a mark). “None of this would be able to happen without all of the amazing volunteers.”
And this week those amazing volunteers have opened up the doors at the new Lake Country Food Bank Thrift store, located across from the RCMP building.
“This is much better, there is more room and great exposure,” said Mary-Ann McCormick, food bank secretary. “It’s a wonderful feeling, but nervous at the same time.”
And so when the doors opened on Tuesday and the food bank began a new venture with a brand new thrift store, it was the realization of a dream that was built on hours and hours of volunteer work from many hard-working community members.
Davidson Road student Madeline Muir was clearly affected by her experience as a volunteer. She says she wants to continue her volunteering as she gets older, moves through school and into adult-hood.
“I’ve been thinking when I am older I would love to get my kids involved with this too because I want them to have the same feeling I’ve had,” she said. “It’s like you come home and you can feel it. It’s a feeling that is deep inside you. It’s the small things that make a big difference.”
She closed her speech with a plea for volunteerism: “My challenge for you is to volunteer,” she wrote. “In conclusion I want you to recognize the more you give the more you get. I was given lots in return and so will you.”
The Lake Country Food Bank thrift store is now open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday each week at 3250 Berry Road. It’s new phone number is 778-480-3250.