National Volunteer Week 2015 (April 12-18) is upon us. To honour our volunteers we have chosen to profile some key individuals that represent the different aspects of the work that we do. Highly involved and dedicated, each of these volunteers are integral to our organization and without them we wouldn’t be as successful.

The Kinette Club of Calgary 

To wrap up National Volunteer Week we want to end on a high note and feature a group of amazing women who share Made by Momma’s purpose and with whom we have formed an amazing volunteer community network. The Kinette Club of Calgary is a group of 40 women dedicated to serving the community’s greatest need and who provide community service work primarily for causes that include women and children.  The Kinette Club of Calgary has been involved with Made by Momma for the past three years.

The Kinette Club of Calgary first found Made by Momma according to Kelli Pollock the current club president because “we were looking for a service project to do. We liked the idea of preparing meals that we could do as a group, have fun, and know we were giving back to the community.”

As a group the Kinettes have cooked many meals for MBM families “we cook about 3 to 4 times a year for Made by Momma making hundred of meals each time”

Their efforts have extended beyond cooking to helping us fundraise. They chose MBM for the second time as the charity of choice for their Golf for Girls Annual Charity Classic Tournament and they have recently partnered with us for MBM’s Helping Our Northern Neighbours project.

Even though the Kinettes have been very involved with Made by Momma; according to Kelli her personal favorite way to give back is the annual golf tournament “Golf for Girls – because it provides a great opportunity for women to network as well as provides a great amount of resources for Made by Momma.”

Kelli believes that Made by Momma is a much-needed organization because “it’s one charity we can all think of time we could of used or knew someone that could of used Made by Momma and their services. MBM really looks after the people who slip through the cracks and that don’t fit in the traditional aid charities.”

“This diverse and wonderful group of women have spent time in our kitchen baking, cooking and packaging meals for our families, they have volunteered at our events, they have helped out with our Adopt-a-Momma program by donating needed items and more recently has chosen MBM as the charity of choice for their annual Golf for Girls Tournament for the second year. We want to thank them for their support over the last year and look forward to their continued involvement.” – Trena, Made by Momma Board Member.

Thank you the Kinette Club of Calgary for being a partner MBM can always count on. We appreciate all the support you have given us and we are looking forward to many more years of accomplishing needed community work together.
Ron L

Ron L has been volunteering with Made by Momma for the past 8 months. After getting a liver transplant, Ron was told he couldn’t do any work that required heavy lifting. Ron originally heard about MBM through his previous job at Soup Sisters and once his sister-in-law joined MBM and filled Ron in on the organization, he knew it was the perfect organization for him.

Ron originally was interested in joining MBM because it allowed for him to follow his passion, which is cooking. However, he soon realized that there was so much more to MBM that makes it such an amazing organization. “The fact that everyone is a volunteer and no one is getting paid means everyone is happy to be here and wants to be here.”

Even though Ron mostly partakes in the chop squad program he has also delivered care packages to our clients in need. “I enjoy delivering packages immensely because it’s instantly rewarding. Also, I know that some of the meals I make are being given to the client. That is always a great feeling when you say to a client I hope you enjoy my cooking.”

Due to Ron recently being sick he has not been as involved with MBM as he would like. “I would like to get more involved with the day to day running of the organization. I want to work closer with Allyson and possibly sit on some of the committee meetings.”

Even though Ron has volunteered with many different organizations none can compare to his experience at MBM. “I have learned the importance of teamwork. There is no place easier to meet new people, new faces and new outlooks on life than at MBM.”

Ron is looking forward to being more involved with MBM in as many ways as possible. “It excites me to be here because I know when I walk out that door I know that all the meals I prepared that day will be helping someone tomorrow.”

“Ron is one of our fabulous volunteers – This man can cook! He has single handedly prepared many meals for our families. He is tireless and is willing to do whatever job is needed in the kitchen. As the Meals Coordinator, I am so pleased to have Ron as one of our valued cooking volunteers!” – Candis, Made by Momma Board Member.   

Thank you Ron for helping keep our fridges stocked and for always having a positive attitude.

Marilyn B

Marilyn B is not new to the volunteering scene. Before she found Made by Momma, she volunteered with many different organizations as well as volunteered and continues to volunteer with Girl Guides. She has also lead many employee-run volunteer programs with different corporations and gave a lot of her time to volunteering with seniors.

When Marilyn came across MBM she was initially looking for a program that would allow for her to make cards, cook and engage her elderly mother. Starting off bagging COBS Bread, she heard about the chop squad and was immediately interested in participating. Since her time with MBM, she has partaken in 7 different chop squads, and is looking forward to doing more. “It is just an awesome group of people. You can just see the work and the energy that is put into everything we cook. We never stop laughing and it is such a positive experience every single time.”

Due to Marilyn’s background in running volunteer initiatives in the corporate world, she is looking forward for MBM to increase the amount of corporations that help out. “I think that the idea of trying to increase the amount of corporate opportunities we have would be beneficial. Just being creative and trying to figure out how to expand that side of the organization.”

Marilyn has learned a great deal since her bread bagging days. “I have learned what could be accomplished with a small number of people and how creative and inventive people are. This is very evident in chop squads as we pull random ingredients and make amazing dishes from them.”

Overall, Marilyn believes that MBM is crucial in today’s society. “I think it is needed and important because our city is becoming more international. I know there are people who moved from other cities and countries and have no support system. I think it is very important that these people have a place to go that they can trust and is here for the right reasons.”

At the end of the day she is happy that she found an organization that she loves as much as she does MBM. “The last few months I have been with Made by Momma have been fabulous and I am looking forward to being more involved and continuing on and being a part of this exciting wonderful organization.”

“Marilyn is fairly new to MBM but in a short period of time she has made a significant contribution. She is always available to help out at the centre in the kitchen and to help with general duties. Marilyn brings her elderly mother in to chop veggies and they cook meals for our families. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for Marilyn and MBM as she has been a wonderful addition to our volunteer team.” – Marilyn, Made by Momma Board Member

Thank you Marilyn for your dedication, passion and wonderful meals. We are looking forward to you being more involved with our organization.

Barb and Laura 

Barb and Laura are known as the dynamic duo. Working together as a pair, they just started with Made by Momma in March. Coming from two very different backgrounds, these two have proven to be very engaged and involved in Made by Momma’s initiatives. Due to their partnership, we decided to interview and celebrate their volunteer contributions together.

Barb is a retired accountant and has a strong background in business. She found MBM through a friend’s Facebook page and fell in love with MBM’s mandate.

Laura is a former cancer survivor who has had cancer three times and is now living with congestive heart failure. Even with her health problems, she was still able to go to school and become a nurse. Although she can’t work full-time anymore, she has developed a passion for volunteering and giving back to the community. This pair has only been volunteering with us for a short time but their impact has been amazing as they have taken on many diverse projects and are planning to help out even more.

Barb and Laura were interested in helping out for MBM for similar reasons. Barb says she was attracted to MBM because “I was unable to have children of my own. Therefore, I feel through in-home visits and donating my time to MBM’s great initiatives, I can fulfill some of my own maternal instincts in caring for people.”

Laura was attracted to volunteering with MBM because “I have done a lot of work with children in the past and I am unsure if I can have children of my own. I love spending time with kids and I am a kid at heart.”

Both of these women have taken on the responsibility of organizing and managing the Pamper Me Momma’s gift bags. According to Barb, “the Pamper Me Momma gift bags for Mother’s Day project has been my favorite because it will hopefully bring joy to often forgotten deserving moms.”

Laura added, “a lot of these moms go unrecognized, I can’t wait to see how they react to receiving their gift bag this Mother’s Day.”

These ladies agree that MBM is a rewarding experience. According to Barb and Laura MBM is a much-needed organization because of “its client base. We are not just supporting low-income families, we are supporting short-term situations of adversity and very often those people would slip through the cracks. This is about helping to sustain families and moms that are facing life changing situations.”

They have both gained a stronger understanding of the difficulties of being a mom. Barb says, “I have developed more of an appreciation for what moms in adversity must go through. I never really thought about that before and I never really thought about what if a mom is sick or is recovering from something. They still have to be a mom. I have developed an appreciation for that and the importance of Made by Momma.”

Laura adds, “I have learned how much moms and families are in need of just the basic things. I have a big appreciation for what they do and how hard it is to get by and supply for their families.”

Barb and Laura sure have taken our little charity by storm! In just a couple of months they sure have made themselves at home getting involved and helping us with many different projects! They are a joy to talk to and volunteer with – they always put in 100% effort and do a fantastic job!” Allyson – Made by Momma Board Member

We want to thank these two wonderful ladies for their passion and their desire to help out. We can’t wait to see how the Pamper Me Momma’s gift bags turn out.

Interested in learning more about Laura’s journey? Check out her digital story at this link: Her story is truly remarkable.

Melissa G

Melissa G has been a part of Made by Momma since day one. Being a friend of Ashlee, one of the founding members who started Made by Momma many years ago, Melissa has been highly involved with organization. When first hearing about MBM, Melissa “loved the idea behind moms helping moms. When I started I was a new mom in a city where I didn’t know many people, meeting up with the other volunteers to sort through donations and just talk was such an amazing support for me.”

Melissa is happy she gets to volunteer for such a rewarding organization.  “I like being able to help moms in my community. It’s great working with a charity that you know is helping people close to you.”

Melissa’s work for MBM often occurs behind the scenes. “Most of the projects I work on are graphic design related and I would say I love doing them all. Design is my passion so using my passion to help MBM is the perfect way for me to help out. And every project I work on is fun and colorful – it’s not very often my clients like to use such bright bold colors.”

Even though Melissa is busy and has limited free time she enjoys the fact that she is able to help MBM from the comfort of her home. “It’s a great organization, full of amazing women who all have their hearts in the right place. As my kids would say being able to help those mom’s in need fills your bucket!”

Melissa is simply awesome and we really value her commitment to our organization. Her skills are definitely put to good use as she does the majority of our graphic design work creating brochures, posters, flyers, business cards, social media pieces and more. She’s always happy to help and go above and beyond even when we have short deadlines! We are so lucky to have such a great woman giving her time, energy and creativity to our charity!” Allyson – Made by Momma Board Member

Thank you Melissa for providing us with beautiful work to help publicize and raise awareness about our different events and projects.

Kari R 

Kari R has been a part of Made by Momma’s team for 5 years. Kari has dived into many aspects of MBM and has been a key contributor to our success. Kari joined Made by Momma when she sold her bakery business 5 years ago. “I wanted to still bake but didn’t have enough tummies to fill in my house so I found MBM to donate my baking to. After meeting Allyson and a few other ladies I knew this was the charity for me.”

She was interested in volunteering with Made by Momma because, “I liked the fact that it was volunteer based and promoted a grass roots connection with the community as opposed to getting lost in the corporate world of giving. I knew my time, my energy and my skills would be greatly utilized and appreciated.”

Through her time with MBM she had learned a great deal of lessons however, the one that stands out the most to her is “you can’t judge a book by its cover. You never know who may be in need of your services. It may be just a home visit or a warm meal or it can be a life changing step to make a families adjustment to Canada that much easier. Pay it forward is my motto – you never know when you may need a helping hand one day.”

Even though Kari R loves volunteering with MBM she wishes that an organization like this one was not needed in our society. “I wish it wasn’t needed but because we do have the demand in our growing city, it’s great that there is a short-term agency that can help a family when others may have to turn them away. Its not easy asking for help and when Made by Momma makes it easy for people to do it with dignity I’m all for that.”

“Made by Momma is a great organization that truly cares about the families it serves. It started with an idea and a few ladies getting together to make a difference and with the help of our team of leaders it has grown into a wonderful charity. I am blessed to be a part of it.” We are lucky to have you a part of our little family Kari.

“Kari is an amazing supporter of Made by Momma. She has been a part of our team as a volunteer over the past 5 years and has also held a board position. Her time and commitment has contributed to many of our successes in immeasurable ways. We’re lucky to have such a great woman to work alongside.” – Allyson, Made by Momma Board Member

Thank you for all your support and helping make sure our fridges is filled with nutritious products for our clients.

Val F

You can often find Val F cooking up a storm in our resource centre kitchen. Being a mother of two, and no longer working, Val found that volunteering helped fill a void in her heart. Val has been volunteering with MBM since February 2013 and first heard about the organization while volunteering with a social worker, “a bunch of our pamphlets came to her desk so I was like fabulous, I love to bake and I love to cook. When I first started with MBM I was a little timid about cooking with others then I got braver and started to join some of the group cooks and I absolutely loved it!”

Through her time with volunteering with MBM she has developed stronger kitchen skills from being able to work with fellow home cooks. She says that she was attracted to volunteer at Made by Momma because, “I liked the ideas of mothers helping mothers and the fact that was I able to bake and cook as those are two of my passions. I also love the camaraderie. MBM allows for you to volunteer without worrying about your skill set, all you need to volunteer here, is your time and your commitment.”

According to Val, Made by Momma is unique because we are able to provide immediate support for families facing many different crisis situations. “Made by Momma is a needed organization because we are directly helping mothers without there being this bureaucracy and all the forms and processes you have to fill out. There is a situation and we go to it immediately. It is an immediate response which can help mitigate a crisis situation.”

“It is always a delight to have Val in the kitchen. Her passion for MBM and the families we serve is evident in the effort she puts in when she creates “awesome” home cooked meals. I think the families that receive the meals Val makes feel the love they are made with!! Thanks to a very special person!!” – Marilyn, Made by Momma Board Member

Thank you Val for keeping our freezers stocked and providing your never-ending support to our organization.

Polina O 

Polina O is one of Made by Momma’s teen volunteers. Only being 17, Polina has a strong desire to give back to the community and to help out. Polina has been volunteering since November 2014 and heard about MBM through her dad.

Being in high school, Polina finds it difficult to partake in many MBM programs as many activities occur during the day when she is in school. Despite being in high school and keeping up with her studies, she was attracted to volunteer with MBM because of “all the different opportunities. MBM is not one of those places that you have to do one thing all the time. It gives you the opportunity to switch it up. Also, everyone is so nice so it makes it a fun place to volunteer.”

Polina is a regular volunteer at bread bagging donated by COBS Bread every week and has grown to love the program. “I really enjoy bread bagging. This is because I come in every week with the same people and we talk about our week. It is like a little family away from home.”

During her time with MBM, Polina has learned the importance of time management, “this year I figured out if I want to help out I have to make the time to be dedicated to the organization.” She has made a commitment to herself to come to bread bagging every week. By having a consistent schedule, it has allowed her to schedule her homework and extracurricular activities around this commitment.

Polina is hoping to help out even more in the summer once school is done and her schedule is more flexible. She wants to do in-home visits, as she believes that this part of Made by Momma is very important. “To me, I feel that just sending food to people is not enough. I want to do in-home visits as I like the idea of having the peer-to-peer support so the families are not alone.”

Polina believes that MBM is an important organization because “it helps the community and it can make people’s lives better in either a small or big way.”

“Polina is a great addition to the Made by Momma team.  She has become one of our regular weekly Tuesday night volunteers and can be counted on to pitch in and help in whatever way needed.  It is great to have such an enthusiastic young volunteer working to support our families and we look forward to having her get more involved as her school schedule permits.” – Leanne, Made by Momma Board Member

We are looking forward to having you more involved Polina! Thank you for your outstanding commitment to making Made by Momma successful.

Cindy R 

Cindy R is a mother of four grown children and has been volunteering for Made by Momma for a year and a half. Having four grown children, Cindy wanted to find something to fulfill her grandmothering needs. “I was looking for somewhere I could help children. I heard about MBM from the Calgary Foundation and it seemed to be a good fit for me.”

Cindy is involved with many aspects of MBM. You can often find Cindy either helping in the kitchen, sorting inventory or doing in-home visits. “I did in-home visits because I liked being more involved with the children themselves and provide the support for moms who might not have any otherwise.”

Cindy has helped out with many different events this past year including 12 Cans Til Christmas, Santa’s Workshop and the share tables. Her favourite activity was the Santa’s Workshop because “you could see the difference you were making to each of the moms. You were making a difference to their Christmas and their child’s Christmas.”

She mentioned that she is most looking forward to building a garage at the resource centre to provide more storage space in the future. This is not surprising as you will often find Cindy in our crowded storage space reorganizing and sorting new donations.

Cindy has been extremely involved with MBM and it is because of her dedication and determination that MBM’s inventory is as organized as it is. When asked why she believes people should volunteer with MBM she said, “for anyone looking for a rewarding volunteering opportunity, where you can be involved in so many different ways and have a big impact, Made by Momma is perfect. From bagging bread, cooking meals, delivering to families or becoming a mentor and friend to a family in a crisis situation, there is always something to help with. The grassroots nature of MBM is inspiring at every step!”

Cindy is the type of volunteer you want to clone because she generously gives her time and will do anything needed, including sorting countless boxes of donated baby items. ” – Wendy, Made by Momma Board Member

Thank you Cindy for all your support and dedication, we couldn’t do it without you.

#volunteerville #NVW2015 #MBMvolunteers