Doug Hoon believes volunteering is “the best job I’ve never had.”
Seven years ago, Hoon began, following the suggestion of a friend, to volunteer at St. George’s United Church. His plan was to volunteer in the pantry as part of the Sonshine Lunch Program, but found himself in the kitchen, and since then, he’s never left.
Hoon can be found in the kitchen helping out every Tuesday. When he’s not cooking or preparing food, he’s picking up vegetables and donations from stores and producers.
Growing up on a farm taught him both the value of food and the resourcefulness of using every last drop.
“I grew up on a homestead and we always used everything,” he explained.
About three years ago following a large donation of ham, Hoon saved the bones to produce ham and split pea soup at home which helped produce around 30 pots of soup (enough for about six months).
After picking up the leftovers from the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, Hoon used the turkey bones to create turkey veggie soup and turkey stock.
Other food items that he gets in abundance are carefully cleaned, washed and frozen for later use. Fresh items such as squash, fruit and greens are left out so customers can help themselves and take them home, as may families are served by the program.
Hoon also spends time volunteering doing lawn and garden work at Comox United Church, and offers assistance to many in his neighbourhood doing repairs, running errands and repurposing objects.
Additionally, he assists at the Auxiliary Society for Comox Valley Healthcare thrift store at the former site of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
He noted the best part about volunteering is the ability to give back to those who need assistance.