When Stan and Jean Currie retired several years ago, they were looking for an opportunity to make a difference for those who had fallen on hard times.
They chose the Centretown Emergency Food Centre, in the basement of Centretown United Church, which offers clients in need the ability to take home various food products to feed themselves and their families.
“We serve a range of people from different backgrounds,” says Jean. “Single men who’ve had troubled lives, seniors, single moms, new immigrants, and people who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.”
Stan and Jean understand that part of their job is to make their clients feel comfortable. “We lead the client to a table and go through a list of food choices, but of course, being Canadian, we always start by talking about how cold it is,” Jean says with a laugh.
“We treat them with respect,” says Stan. “We try to show them that they’re important, and the fact that they get some choice about what food they take home makes the experience a bit more personal.”
The team of volunteers at the Centretown Emergency Food Centre provides sustenance to some 80 or 90 clients each day, four days a week, from noon to 2 pm. The food they supply is meant to last the clients three or four days, and because of demand, clients can only come in once a month.
Winter months can be tough, with a lull in food and monetary donations to help keep the shelves stocked, and the Curries note that hunger doesn’t go away just because the holidays are over. “Money is very helpful for buying the things we need,” says Stan, who is equally happy to accept food donations which can keep his Centretown neighbours from going without.
“We’re all susceptible through injury, accident, or circumstance to needing this service, and we have to help each other,” he concludes.
The Curries are standing first in line to offer a warm smile and a helping hand to those who need it.