With Second Harvest’s annual event Toronto Taste fast approaching on June 12, 2022, long-time volunteer Hyame Fadel-Jardine takes pride in her role––and Second Harvest is better for it. We had a chance to ask Hyame a few questions about her role and history with Second Harvest and Toronto Taste.
How did you get involved in volunteering with Second Harvest?
My first volunteer experience for Second Harvest was in 2006, an 8:30 am Turkey Drive shift, after having finished work at 11:30 pm the night before. I covered for my mother who was not able to attend. As luck would have it, I worked with the volunteer coordinator at the time who explained Second Harvest’s mission to me. I left Loblaws that morning, with an appointment set up to discuss future volunteering opportunities, and with newfound knowledge about Second Harvest. An organization with a mission to feed the hungry in our city while rescuing food that was needlessly going to waste was one that I wanted to help and support. I have been volunteering ever since, at the office, at special events, including Toronto Taste. Anything I can do to help, I will.
When did you get involved with Toronto Taste?
My first Toronto Taste was awe inspiring; it was at The Hangar at Downsview Park. I was amazed at how that space could be transformed into such an elegant venue, all in the space of one day. I still feel that way during every single Toronto Taste I am at. I was stationed in the volunteer room, looking after snacks and food. I observed the staff and other volunteers working together to build chef stations, stock plates, stuff lanyards, decorate and whatever else was needed.
I have had the privilege to be on the Steering Committee as a Volunteer Lead for the last few years. I enjoy working with the Second Harvest staff to plan a positive experience for the volunteers signing up to help at the event. I am always excited to welcome the over 200 volunteers both new and returning to the venue and to get them ready for the event ahead.
What is your role with the Toronto Taste volunteer team?
As part of the volunteer lead team, we do what we can to make sure all volunteers are checked in, connected with their site leads, ready for the task ahead, and have a comfortable and welcoming space (and food) to take a break. I always hope that they leave feeling that they have done something great, made some new friends, and would like to help again. It is also so important to ensure that they are aware that whatever task they are assigned is valuable to the mission.
What have you learned from working with Second Harvest?
I have seen Second Harvest grow from supporting the hungry in Toronto with a small number of trucks, to an organization that connects agencies in need to food that would have gone to waste through Food Rescue. This year is the 30th Anniversary of Toronto Taste! It is hard to articulate just what it feels like to be part of this landmark year. For an event to be held for this long and with such success, is a testament to Second Harvest, their mission, and the positive effect they have on the communities they serve. I can’t wait for the event on June 12th!
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