Firstly, vulnerable people from across Lennox and Addington County now rely on Morningstar for about 1,200 meals per week. Like all organizations that are on the front lines of the pandemic addressing food insecurity, we are considered an essential service. Except for a small team of paid staff, our core operation relies almost entirely on mobilizing volunteers to channel a compassionate response to people in need.
Our volunteers also become part of the Morningstar family and keeping them safe, while they continue to serve our community, is our top priority. To do that, we follow the public health guidelines around the use of Personal Protective Equipment, we adhere to sanitizing protocols, and screen daily and track sign-ins to allow for contact tracing.
Having use of the Lion’s hall to prepare, cook, and package meals allows our volunteers to spread out and work safely together but without having contact with the public. Marjorie Murphy, who frequently volunteers at the Lion’s Hall said she debated staying home during the Province’s most recent stay-at-home order. Ultimately, she decided to keep coming, “volunteering gets me out of the house, and I have so much fun.” Marjorie says that since she cannot host visitors at home, volunteering for Morningstar enables her to see other people, “I feel quite safe doing it, and we all wear masks and social distance; it is very therapeutic.”
Morningstar’s delivery drivers and Water Street meal hospitality teams do have contact with the broader public and we seek to make those activities as safe as possible, as well. Jim Bell who volunteers from behind a PPE barrier on Fridays during our meal hospitality really looks forward to seeing the patrons that come in to pick up their meals. “I do feel safe,” says Jim, “we all wear protection. It is rewarding to help them.” Jim looks forward to having a short chat and feels good about the help the meal program is providing to our community.
At Morningstar, our volunteers are like a big family that cares for and encourages each other. If you think you or your family might be interested in volunteering, please visit our website at www.morningstarmission.ca/volunteer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our office at 613-354-6355. We encourage you to find out for yourself the variety of ways you can have some fun, do some good, and join our family of volunteers!