Celebrating National Volunteer Week April 24 - 30, 2022

The National Volunteer Week theme for 2022, Volunteering is Empathy in Action, affirms the strong connection between volunteerism and empathy. This profoundly human connection is at the heart of healthier individuals and stronger communities.

Back to all stories | Posted on 24 April 22 in BlogFundraising

Empathy is a quality that can help people relate to others and build awareness around different experiences. It connects people in ideas and actions and helps create bonds forged in common goals and aspirations. 

Volunteering can help us develop empathy, to see the world through the eyes of others. It can connect people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, expanding our views. It can build our capacity to work collectively and contribute to a vibrant, inclusive society. 

From coast to coast to coast in formal and informal settings, volunteers create caring, collaborative, and compassionate communities. During National Volunteer Week 2022, we celebrate the contributions of Canada’s millions of volunteers: their actions, their understanding, and their genuine concern for the world around them. 

Volunteering, putting empathy into action, can build communities where people feel happier, healthier, and more welcome – creating a stronger, more connected Canada. 

This year we've asked some of  our Community Ambassadors about their experiences volunteering with Mary's Meals Canada.

Meet Ethan

Tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from, what is your job, where do you live etc.

Hey everyone! My name is Ethan Chen and I am currently a third-year pharmacology student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada!

How long have you been a Mary’s Meals volunteer?

I have been a volunteer with Mary’s Meals Canada for almost a year, and it’s been an incredible and rewarding experience thus far!

How did you first learn of Mary’s Meals?

I first learned of Mary’s Meals through my friends, who were actively involved in fundraising for Mary’s Meals in their community in Fort McMurray, Canada. They asked me if I was interested in helping them establish a club at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, which is when I first joined.

It’s a big commitment to volunteer your time with a charity – what made you want to get involved?

I wanted to get involved because I understand the importance of having someone there to support you, whether a large organization like Mary’s Meals or just friendly people around you who are willing to help. Mary’s Meals philosophy also speaks to me; I understand the importance of having basic necessities such as food and the importance of education. Together, these factors led me to join Mary’s Meals.

What are your day-to-day tasks as a volunteer?

As the current administrative officer for Mary's Meals Edmonton, I am responsible for all operational duties, including serving as an external liaison between the team and the University of Alberta's Student Union. In addition, I am in charge of scheduling meetings, drafting agendas, and assisting in the development of fundraising plans as well as financial matters. Throughout the year, I also assist in the planning of and participation in other events.

What are the best aspects of your role as a volunteer?

I enjoy expressing myself in a creative manner, especially when it comes to aesthetics. As a result, my favourite component of my job so far has been planning and organising events with my colleagues, where we can freely share our ideas in a fun environment.

What is your best memory from your time as a volunteer?

Honestly, my favourite memory from my time as a volunteer has been the in-person meetings, where we are able to share our ideas, discuss fundraising strategies, and overall, have fun in a nurturing and positive environment.

Can you think of another volunteer that you spend time with or an act you have witnessed that has inspired you?

I draw inspiration from my family! From my father and grandmother in Taiwan to my aunt and uncle here in Edmonton, my family continuously inspires me with their courageousness and caring natures. They are actively involved in their communities and always seek to help anyone in need, whether strangers or members of the family like me.

What does being a Mary’s Meals volunteer mean to you?

It means the world. It’s beyond incredible to have the opportunity to help fundraise for such a worthy cause, and it makes me feel even better knowing that my actions may help children all around the world lead better lives.

What would you say to someone who is looking to volunteer with Mary’s Meals?

Volunteering is a gratifying experience in and of itself, but volunteering with Mary's Meals and knowing that you're genuinely making a difference in the lives of other children is even more so. I’ve had an incredible time working with a group of member who share similar worldviews who are even more welcoming in real life than from online

Stay tuned to meet another fabluous Mary's Meals Canada Community Ambassador later this week!