Like many nonprofits, volunteers are our most valuable asset here at Withrow Park Farmers’ Market! We run on volunteer power, support, time and commitment to effectively run and manage our Saturday Market as well as the special events we hold. They bring their talents, experience, and unique qualities along with an undeniable spirit of service to our missions.
Our June Volunteer Spotlights is a way to honour and share the stories of some of our outstanding volunteers!
Meet Mary! A self-driven, dedicated, and literary creative, she brings much passion to our team! With a background in Agriculture and Farmers Markets as well as experience and a love of words, Mary is the perfect fit for our eNewsletter Writer role.
For the past month, Mary has curated fun, engaging, and creative eNewsletters introducing great produce at the Market and vendor specials. In addition to this role, she has graced our coffee tent with her serving skills, helped create Market signs, assisted in Market set up, and attended our community outreach day where we delivered 1000+ postcards door-to-door to residents in the neighbourhood!
Mary is a wonderful Volunteer who is willing to wear many hats in order to help us out here at Withrow Park Farmers Market! We are so very appreciative of her commitment to the team and look forward to continuing working with her! Thank you, Mary!
Tell us more about yourself including your interests and hobbies – What do you like to do? I like spending time with my family. I enjoy reading — I did my undergraduate degree in English literature, and the love of language has stuck with me. My summer stack of books includes some sci-fi, a few classics, and some postmodern American novels. I also like art exhibitions, ballets, movies, television and the critical discussions that surround art.
What attracted you to your Volunteer role with Withrow Park Farmers Market? Lots of reasons!
1) Now that I’m finished school, I want to get involved in my community and feel more at home in East York (I’m from a smaller town, originally).
2) I worked at farmers’ markets as a summer job all the way through high school and university and loved it. I think markets are special.
3) The newsletter is a fun project. I think anyone who reads it can probably tell that I have fun writing it — lots of puns and fun food facts. I’m also starting my career in public relations, and I’m happy to get extra writing/social media experience while also using my skills to benefit the community.
What makes volunteering meaningful to you? I like to feel useful, I like the people I volunteer with, and I feel like a good fit in my role (so far!). I think the Withrow Market is more than a place to buy food — it’s a commons that encourages us to do things together in a way that benefits everybody (the bicycle swap and the zero-waste initiatives come to mind). The Withrow Market has a mission I can really get behind, in that sense, and I’m so excited to be a part of it.
Meet Kanchan! Our rockstar Volunteer who like a bee has been buzzing around Withrow Park Farmers Market helping out in all the ways she can! She has taken on the role as our Volunteer Kids Crafts Assistant, Coffee Server & Cashier, as well as the Scavenger Hunt Coordinator at our Pollinator Party!
However, regardless of what role she has found herself in for the Market day, she always brings a great amount of both optimism and an eagerness to contribute and make a difference! Her enthusiasm, smile, and great personality cannot be missed!
With the exciting news of her gaining recent employment, Kanchan is currently volunteering from home by developing our new Linkedin profile! Thank you, Kanchan!
Tell us more about yourself including your interests and hobbies – What do you like to do? I just moved to Toronto with my husband and I absolutely love the city. I am a software professional and currently, I am enjoying a short break from work. I am a DIY freak & love collecting and repurposing junk. I enjoy playing badminton, exploring new places, working out in the park on weekends, meeting different kinds of people and learning about their normal. I stay away from negativity. It messes with my brain completely. I prefer surrounding myself with energetic happy faces.
What attracted you to your Volunteer role with Withrow Park Farmers Market? The idea of promoting reusability in the smallest of ways got me interested. I love how kids get to learn by observing the little things we do at the market. Add to that an opportunity to work with kids on fun crafts, sealed the deal for me. Also, it is a wonderful opportunity to promote and encourage local farmers, artisan bakers, etc and I would like to do my bit to help. I am a software consultant by profession but eventually, I do see myself wanting to be part of such initiatives full time (fingers crossed!).
Meet Paul! A veteran volunteer who has been with us for 11 years! Withrow Park Farmers Market would not be the same without him! Every market morning, he is one of the first volunteers to arrive and always with a positive attitude! We look forward to having heartfelt conversations with him each Saturday!
Although Paul has had many different roles throughout the seasons, we are so grateful to currently have him assist us every Market Morning as one of our Parking Guide volunteers! He helps direct vendors in the morning so they know where they are setting up and keeps a close eye on arriving vehicles. Paul always makes sure that everyone feels welcome to the Market and that their morning starts off on the right foot! Thank you, Paul!
Tell us more about yourself including your interests and hobbies – What do you like to do? First it is always with pleasure that I volunteer at the Market; my interest has always been in aviation, where I made my career; after 4 years as a ground agent and a one-year stint at Expo 67 in Montreal, I started my 39-years of working as a flight attendant, from which I retired in 2007. Until I sold my house near the Market in April 2017, I enjoyed traveling and gardening.
What attracted you to your Volunteer role with Withrow Park Farmers Market? The first time I came to the Market was right after retiring, where I volunteered part-time, starting full-time in 2008. I believe in the philosophy of the Market, no pesticide and clean environment. I have almost always volunteered in my life in some capacity or another, such as the Union where I worked and the Aids Committee of Toronto.
What makes volunteering meaningful to you? Dealing with people has always attracted me as I enjoy it immensely. Why? I am not too sure but it brings a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. I have always believed in the importance of community spirit; this market was a community activity that started the year I retired so I got involved part time and full time in 2008 and I still love being involved even though I moved away in 2017. I hope I can do it for many more years to come, that is when I am not traveling
Volunteers are the backbone of our organization! Withrow Park Farmers Market is so very appreciative of their help and support! If you get a chance, please express your gratitude to these amazing individuals and the entire team of volunteers as they bustle around the Market!
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